The discovery of a corral of emaciated goats along Alpine Road on undeveloped land owned by Stanford University in Portola Valley has led the Peninsula Humane Society to seek animal-cruelty charges against the goats' owners.
The goats are owned by Scott Kulenguskey and Joy Richardson who run Pacifica-based Sustainable Solutions Land Management and Ecological Services, said Humane Society investigator Debi DeNardi. The company hires the goats out to land owners as a natural method of weed control.
The town of Portola Valley hired Sustainable Solutions to clear land in the Hayfields open space area on the north end of town in 2005, said Town Administrator Angela Howard.
DeNardi said she is preparing a report for the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, which will determine whether to press charges.
Several attempts to get comments from the goats' owners were unsuccessful.
DeNardi said she learned of the goats' plight from equestrians who board their horses near the undeveloped parcel at 3540 Alpine Road. On August 26, she said, she found about 50 "skinny" goats in "poor condition" inside two fenced pens. The goats had no access to water, hay or grain, and the pens were "too small," she said.
The goats had been penned for two days, DeNardi said she was told by Richardson. The goats' symptoms included coughing, nasal discharges, diarrhea, and hooves that should have been trimmed long ago, DeNardi said.
A dead goat was found inside a horse trailer there, along with a live goat and "a bucket of water with feces in it," DeNardi said. Two travel trailers nearby were filled with trash, she said.
Stanford spokesman Larry Horton confirmed that the university does own the property where the goats were penned.
The goats are now being cared for on a ranch in Calaveras County, DeNardi said.
Asked about the value of a diet of dry weeds, DeNardi said that weeds alone are not sufficient for a goat and that it also needs nutritional foods such as hay and grain.