Q: What are 19 goats that have been put up for adoption by Sonoma County animal care authorities?
A: Personalities in need of fences and friends.
"They each have their own distinct personality," said Cathy McCafferty, shelter manager at the county's Animal Care and Control facility on Century Way. "They're very comical, very fun, very sociable; it's just the fencing is the main thing."
The 19 goats were among 29 that had been hanging out at a property in unincorporated Santa Rosa, cleaning up poison oak and blackberries, a favorite activity.
That arrangement ended because the property owner didn't want them any longer and the animals' owner couldn't or wouldn't take them back, said Sandra Lupien, communications and outreach manager for the county Animal Care and Control Department.
They can be adopted singly, but the preference is that they go in pairs or larger groups because goats need company — as well as secure fencing at least five feet high — although they also get along well with other livestock and even cats and most dogs, said McCafferty.
Two goats have been adopted as of Monday afternoon and eight are still being treated at the shelter for ailments such as parasite infections and lice, McCafferty said.
"We want to get them back to full health before we place them," she said.
Officially, there are 2,146 goats in Sonoma County being raised for dairy and meat, according to the latest crop report by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. But there are probably a few thousand other goats in the county on farms and in backyards. Boer goats, for example, are increasingly popular, often bred for birria, a speciality spicy Mexican stew.
Common uses also are for help keeping brush and leafy vegetation under control, but they also require a diet of grass hay, small amounts of alfalfa and goat chow. Prospective owners must fill out an application and meet with shelter staff to see if they and the goats are a good match.