They aren't hurting anyone, but authorities want them caught.
Three goats with white and gray spotted fur were first seen Monday
munching on grass on East Mountain Road in Hillsborough. They have also
been spotted along Murray and Starview drives.
Senior animal control officer Thomas Dodd of the St. Hubert's Animal
Welfare Center in Branchburg said St. Hubert's officers tried
unsuccessfully to lure the goats with food.
"The minute you pull out a can of oats, (livestock usually) come
running," he said. "We tried that, they wanted nothing to do with us.
They took off. This tells me they have been up there a while. They
aren't considering a human with food their primary food source. They've
found something else."
Capt. Robert Roscoe of the Hillsborough Police Department said police
have "attempted to locate farmers who may have lost animals, but we've
not been successful so far."
The goats have been roaming around East Mountain Road, but are believed
to live in the Sourland Mountain Preserve. Dodd said up to six animal
control officers and Hillsborough police have tried to lure the goats,
using food as bait, and have tried to corral the animals with sheets and
blankets. St. Hubert's officers have been to the site four times this
week, he said. The first day officers spent three hours following the
animals, even pursuing them up hill into the preserve.
"They won't even let us within a hundred yards of them," Dodd said. "My
fear -- I've been doing this a long time -- is they've been up there for
a very long time and they are coming down because of a lack of food. My
belief is they were either lost or dumped over the summer. They go to
the greenest grass on the whole street."
Dodd said he hopes the goats' owner will read about them and claim them.
If not, St. Hubert's will call the state Division of Fish and Wildlife
to capture the animals by using a tranquilizer.
"That is my last resort," Dodd said. "If they start to go into the
street, I'm going to have to do that because of the safety of the
When the goats are caught, they will be transferred to a farm in
Hunterdon County, where they will be held for seven days to give their
owner time to claim them, explained St. Hubert's spokeswoman Kelly
Vanasse. If an owner doesn't come forward, the goats would be adopted by
the farm, she said.
Anyone knowing the possible owner of the goats can call St. Hubert's at
BY RAVIYA H. ISMAIL
Raviya H. Ismail works in the Somerset County bureau. She can be reached
at rismail @ starledger.com or at (908) 429-9925.