On Wednesday, photo editor Kat Duncan and I headed out to Nursery after a man said his neighbor was keeping about 40 goats in a small pen. He said several had died recently and the smell was "stomach churning."
Screen cap of a video I took at the scene. (I am sorry for the grainy quality.)
Another neighbor complained that she couldn't let her 2-year-old granddaughter play outside because the air quality would irritate her asthma.
Several weeks ago, she had a birthday party for that same granddaughter and all her guests had to leave because the meat she was serving spoiled and was continually being assaulted by pesky purple and green flies.
When Kat and I got out there, three Victoria County Sheriff's deputies descended upon the property to investigate the neighbors' claims. They found one dead goat, and no signs of neglect.
"Animals die and sometimes we don't know why. ... None of them look bad, but it's probably too small of an enclosure," Cpl. Ronny Hewes said.
The Victoria County Animal Control then came out to offer the owner some advice.
Hewes said the neighbors' complaint was more about the goats being a nuisance, which would be a civil court matter.
The owner said he feeds the herd live oak show goat food twice a day and has an automatic water dispenser. He said the herd started after he brought in a rescued male goat.
They've all gotten pretty old and weary of the high temperatures, something that is beyond his control, he said.
"They (the neighbors) probably just don't understand," the owner said.
None of his neighbors ever came to him to express their concerns.
I am a big animal lover and have found myself writing about possible abuse a lot lately.
My article about a Victoria man who humanely trapped cats that wandered into and damaged his garden got a lot of attention in April - with readers on both sides of the fence. The man dropped some of the cats off in the county because he was tired of his neighbors giving him flack for taking them to the shelter, where it would cost a fee to get them back.
It seems that the common thread in all of these stories is a lack of communication. In my job, it's important not to judge someone. I am just so curious about the way other people see the world.
Of course, not everyone wants to talk. In those cases, people should contact the Victoria County Animal Shelter at 361-578-3564 or law enforcement for guidance.
While some people suggested shaking a can of pennies (cats hate the harsh sound), the Victoria Trap, Neuter and Release Program posted this a list with helpful suggestions on how to ward off loitering cats.
If you've tried any, which ones have worked best for you? Is there a technique that needs to be added to the list?
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