Animal cruelty charges against goat owners

Company hires goats out to landowners to control weeds

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.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Scott Kulenguskey and Joy Richardsson are currently living in
Shamokin, Pennsylvania 17872 at 609 E Independence Street

I know this because they have done damage to my vehicle and are driving with no vehicle insurance at the time. I will also be after money owed me from a judgement against them.

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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2007 at 1:32 pm

When goats are used to clear weeds, instead of Round-Up (a herbicide), do government officials demand a background check on the methods used, as they do with herbicides? Are site checks made to insure humane treatment? Are the goat owners required to have liability insurance? Are the owners licensed? Are the level of flies monitored? Are the animials monitored for disease? Is there a vet on call?

If all the appropriate costs were factored into the equation, I suspect it would much cheaper to do mechanical mowing or use Round-Up.

Remarkably, there were some people that actually suggested that goats be used to clear some weeds at Gunn HS, instead of Round-Up.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2007 at 5:19 pm

I was curious about this because my brother's goat lady told me about people starving goats so they would eat weeds. I am pleased that the City of Palo Alto assures that goats are cared for, receive dietary supplements and vet attention.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by BoeZoe
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2009 at 6:23 am

Sounds to me that local government and University Administrators are more likely to blame. When an RFP goes out, all the particulars for humane care should be spelled out up front with penalties for failure. Why do these organizations have an attorney or a team of lawyers on staff or under retainer to review and approve such contractual obligations if they: fail to do so, don not correct deficiencies, or amend the contracts to include proper protections? Incidents such as these can and should be prevented; however, I don't think the method should be totally condemned due to a few "bad operators".

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