The goats were a good idea — until they were gone.
Schaana Puetz, who owns a multi-generational family farm in Black Pines, was recently speaking to her friend and owner of the SPCA thrift store on Eighth Street in North Kamloops about volunteer challenges faced by the non-profit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At issue was the need to mow a one-acre side yard on the property, a task requiring extra hands. That’s when a lightbulb went off. What about extra hooves?
“I’m a local farmer and I have goats,” Puetz told KTW. “I said, ‘Well, as long as it’s OK with bylaw, I’ll put my goats in there.”
Puetz said the city’s bylaws department informed her the goats were not technically allowed on the property, but that no enforcement would occur without complaints.
The fence, which previously held in dogs at the former SPCA location, was checked and the perimeter appeared secure. Everything seemed to line up, so the goats made the half-hour trek from Black Pines and arrived at the thrift store property last Thursday.
“My goats went to help,” Puetz said.
And help they did. The grazing herd of 12 munched away at weeds for three days. They munched and munched and munched, helping to get the green space into a more manageable state. They snacked away until Saturday, when some of the goats made their great escape.
Unbeknownst to Puetz, a small, goat-sized hole had been hidden behind a small shed in the yard. It wasn’t very large, but goats are apparently similar to cats in their ability to slip through small spaces. The hole had evaded Puetz, as did a mama goat and her babies, all of whom slipped through the opening and took a short morning stroll down the alley and into the parking lot behind the Eighth Street thrift store.
It didn’t take long for the public to notice. Reports of the goats at large began to flood in online via the farm’s and thrift store’s Facebook pages. People were concerned about the welfare of the animals, Puetz said, with call also being made to bylaws, the SPCA and RCMP.
Eventually, the wayward goats were rounded up.
Meanwhile, the city bylaws department told Puetz goats are no longer permitted in the Eighth Street property. Any weeding will need to be done with human hands or machines.
As for the goats? They’re back home in Black Pines, doing what they do best.
“Right now, they’re mowing my front lawn,” Puetz said.