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Goats left at Lodi church had necks snapped

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Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 10:00 pm

The dead baby goats left tied to wood pieces during a church service had their necks broken, a Lodi animal shelter employee said Tuesday.

There was no outward sign of mutilation to the three goats, other than a pinkish mark on one goat's head, said Animal Services Supervisor Diane Barney. She acknowledged that it could have been from what police believe was a purple felt-tip pen that was used to mark on the wood.

Police had no updates on possible suspects, two days after the goats were left on the lawn at United Congregational Christian Church, 701 S. Hutchins St. It was unknown if there was any connection between the church and the incident, which included words like "Holly" and "Ghost" written on the stakes used to hold up the small goats.

"We're a very opening and welcoming congregation," said Pastor Jack Dawson.

The goats' legs were attached to the pieces of wooden dowel by wires and plastic zip-ties. The goats hadn't been dead long, Dawson said.

The goats still had remains of umbilical cords attached, so someone is missing three kid goats - one brown and two white.

They were only about a foot high at the shoulder, Dawson said, and he speculated that's why nobody driving down well-traveled Hutchins Street called police to report the pranksters. The goats were left on the north side of the church, which borders Tokay Street, and people in the congregation discovered them after the service ended around noon.

Suspects sought

Anyone with information on suspects, where the goats came from, or any people seen at the church between 10:30 a.m. and noon Sunday may call Lodi police at (209) 333-6727. Anonymous callers may contact Lodi-area Crime Stoppers at (209) 333-6771 or (209) 369-2746.

Roughly 75 people were at the service, which starts at 10:30 a.m.

"We've been a church that has really seen no graffiti, no hate signs on our property. The graffiti has been limited to one time on a door that I'm sure was kids being kids," Dawson said. "It wasn't even real slang or swear words."

Unless things change, such as getting new information on the suspects' intentions, Dawson said he doesn't want it to be overblown. He plans to talk about it with the congregation, and any other church members who have concerns, but he hopes it's an isolated incident.

The goats were placed in the animal shelter's freezer as evidence, where they may remain as long as necessary, Barney said. If suspects are found, further testing could be done on the goats.

"I hope they died quickly," said Barney, who was obviously disgusted and upset after looking at the goats' carcasses.

"I hate to think of them suffering, but if (the goat killers) didn't get it right the first time," she said, her voice trailing off.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 5:40 pm on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    I think I get it. Someone was setting up a play on the phrase "Holy Ghost"- so they set up three "Holy Goats". It is sick and twisted- but I think I am right on this one.

  • posted at 4:54 pm on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    The chupacabra had to be in on this one.

  • posted at 12:40 pm on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    This act was too sick to be considered a "prank". I hope the police arrest the responsible parties soon. I also hope farmers in our area keep an eye on their animals. These baby goats were probably stolen from someone.

  • posted at 6:15 am on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    There was a serial killer by the name of Jeffrey Dahmer that started by killing and mutilating cats. He also killed animals by impaling them on stakes. As he grew older and untill he was caught, he murdered and cannibalized 17 young men. Who ever killed these goats is on the same path and must be caught, only a psycholgist can determ why a person would do such a horrible act, is it possable that another Jeffery Dahmer is living amoung us. It is my hope that the LPD and County Sheriff`s dept. are working on who ever did this, they need to be found and helped mentally.

  • posted at 4:20 am on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    OMG. This is far worse than a prank. This is animal cruelty. Anyone capable of committing such a heinous act will certainly go on to commit further crimes. I hope whoever is responsible for this is caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.



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