Photos courtesy Jolene Scott Clark County 4-H member Zoey Scott, 8, holds her goat Creamy. The goat was found wandering free at the Scott family's Battle Ground-area property June 19. The other three goats Zoey and her family were raising could not be found. Mother Jolene Scott believes they were stolen. Creamy might have been left behind because, "he is the annoying one that's harder to catch," Jolene Scott said.
If you have information on the three young goats missing from Battle Ground, please share it with Jolene Scott at email@example.com.
Tips can also be called in to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, 360-397-2211.
The situation really gets her goat.
Jolene Scott woke up Wednesday to see one of her daughter's goats wandering outside its pen at the family's 5-acre farm about 10 miles north of Battle Ground.
At first she thought the rambunctious animal named Creamy had escaped on its own. But she soon suspected foul play after noticing the other three young goats living in the enclosure were nowhere to be found.
Scott is certain a rustler is to blame for the disappearance of 3-month-old Maple, 5-month-old Missy and 4-month-old Sausage. She believes Creamy avoided capture because of his bouncy demeanor.
"He is the annoying one that's harder to catch," she laughed.
Zoey Scott, an 8-year-old member of Clark County 4-H's "Just Kidding" goat club, was raising Maple and Missy in preparation for this year's county fair. Sausage, as its name suggests, was destined for the dinner table.
"This is our first time trying to raise our own homegrown meat. It's kind of frustrating to find them all gone," Jolene Scott said.
Scott estimated the goats are worth between $100 and $150 each. Besides the financial hit, she said the abrupt departure upset Zoey and her 16-year-old sister, who was helping to raise the animals. Most mornings at the crack of dawn, Zoey heads outside to bottle-feed the goats.
"She had a hard time sleeping the first night," Scott said about Zoey. "Both girls bonded with them. They would play with them constantly."
A week before they disappeared, Scott posted an ad on Craigslist looking to sell one of the goats. She fears a thief used her posted phone number to find her address.
"You couldn't see the goats from the main driveway; they had to be really checking our place out," Scott said. "It's a little scary."
Such thefts infrequent
Farm animal theft can be lucrative -- especially for pricey cattle and horses -- but doesn't appear to be common in Washington.
"We don't have a lot of livestock theft in this state," said Mike Louisell, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
Such thefts are so infrequent in this area that Clark County doesn't even keep statistics.
"There are so little calls for livestock (theft), we don't even track it," said Paul Scarpelli, Clark County Animal Control manager.
In 2005, goat theft became a felony in Washington after legislators changed the law to reclassify the animals from "property" to "livestock." Goat-napping was previously a misdemeanor, but now can result in thousands of dollars in fines and jail time.
Scott reported the apparent theft to the Clark County Sheriff's Office.
A pet goat was found bound with zip ties and mutilated in Longview last week, but Scott said there doesn't appear to be any link between her situation and that sinister slaughtering.
Since her missing animals haven't yet reached typical butchering age, Scott believes there is still hope to find them alive. She received a vague email tip on Monday, but Scott said the woman who contacted her hasn't replied to multiple messages since then.
Scott hopes her family isn't on a wild goat chase.
"They are out there somewhere. Somebody hasn't just taken them home and butchered them right away," she said before pausing. "I guess if somebody is hungry enough, they would."