If you’re in the market for a rescue pet, perhaps to give as a gift during the holiday season, consider the humble goat.

Attorney General William Tong announced on Tuesday that the state has secured custody of upwards of 90 goats that were seized from a Redding resident in March of last year and is now accepting applications for their adoption.

After receiving over 120 complaints regarding roaming goats and violations of local ordinances since 2007, Redding Police were called to investigate a car accident in which one of the goats was roaming in the road and was struck by a car in April 2020. The owner of the goat, Nancy Burton, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. 

Although the Department of Agriculture had received five complaints related to the condition of goats at the property and lack of care in the years preceding Burton’s arrest, it wasn’t until the execution of the search and seizure warrant in March 2021 that authorities discovered the poor conditions in which the goats were living. 

Between 40-50 dead goats were discovered throughout the property in various stages of decomposition in plastic bags, piled underneath a tarp, inside trash containers and partially buried, according to the attorney general’s office. Authorities also observed that the goats lacked adequate water and that many of them were in poor health and needed medical attention. Some struggled to walk, were visibly underweight and had missing or matted fur.

“These goats suffered extreme neglect and have been in state custody for well over 500 days. They deserve this chance for permanent, loving homes,” Attorney General Tong said. “State intervention is never our first choice. Resources and assistance are available to animal owners in need, yet was repeatedly refused in this case. I am grateful to our team in the Office of the Attorney General and at the Department of Agriculture who have fought for many, many months to secure this positive resolution.”

Burton’s animal cruelty case, as well as how much money she will owe the state to compensate for the care of the goats, are still ongoing.

While only 65 goats were seized from Burton’s property that day, many of the goats were pregnant and have since given birth, leaving over 90 goats to be available for adoption. 

If you are interested in adopting any of the goats, contact the Department of Agriculture at AGR.adoptions@ct.gov for more information.

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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