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Dead goats tied to sticks, left on church lawn in Lodi

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Posted: Monday, June 8, 2009 10:00 pm

People leaving a Lodi church Sunday received an unpleasant surprise: Three dead baby goats were left on the lawn, held up with wooden dowels featuring strange symbols and words.

Police have no suspects and don't know if the actual target was United Congregational Church, located at the corner of Hutchins and Tokay streets.

They also don't know if it was a prank or if it meant something more significant. Pastor Jack Dawson told police he had no idea why such a thing would happen, and said he was unaware of any other suspicious incidents.

Police were called to the 701 S. Hutchins St. church at 12:23 p.m. The service had started at 10 a.m. and nothing was amiss, but when churchgoers walked out the door, the gruesome sight was waiting for them.

Two of the three goats had pieces of wooden dowels fastened to their legs by wire and plastic zip ties, according to police. One goat was standing, with the dowels stuck in the ground as supports, while the other goat had fallen over.

There was no obvious cause of death, and the goats did not appear to be mutilated. They were very young, with remains of umbilical cords still attached, according to a police report by Officer John Nickel.

Someone had written on the dowels with a purple felt pen. The words included "End of day," "Holly" - perhaps a misspelling of the word "Holy" - and "Ghost" on separate dowels. The officer didn't recognize the symbols on the wood, other than a five-pointed star.

The church office was closed Monday, and a message and e-mail were not returned.

Police hadn't heard of such things happening before in Lodi. It is not currently considered a hate crime, since there was no apparent specific target of a crime, Sgt. Bill Alexander said.

Diane Barney, Lodi's animal services supervisor, also hadn't heard of such incidents. Sometimes she is called to reports of people keeping goats in city limits, violating Lodi's municipal code regarding farm animals.

She's also been called to backyard goat killings, usually on a holiday before the goat is made into an edible dish. Barney said she explains to the residents that it's not acceptable to slaughter an animal in public.

As a precaution, the animal shelter stops adopting out black cats and dogs at least a month before Halloween, because other cities have reported rituals involving black animals. But Barney hasn't seen that happen in Lodi, and the goat incident is also new ground.

"I have just not ever heard of anything like this, thank goodness," she said.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 6:12 am on Fri, Jun 12, 2009.


    Okay...satanic rituals, terrorists, gangs, murderers and Starbuck's closing. I'm beginning to believe that Buffy was wrong. Sunnydale was not the hellmouth. Lodi is.

  • posted at 4:14 am on Thu, Jun 11, 2009.


    There are some very strange people here in Lodi, ya know? Likely a couple of DA kids who need a boot up their rear.

  • posted at 7:51 pm on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    davidd wrote on Jun 10, 2009 12:09 AM:" Dogs4you, you mite want two czech you’re own speling be for critizing that off others. "LOL!

  • posted at 11:28 am on Wed, Jun 10, 2009.


    Act could possibly be related to denominations stance on homosexuality. Check Book of Revelation. "End of Days" relates to Judgment Day when Jesus will separate the goats (unaccepted) from the sheep (accepted). Could be radical religious groups message to denomination. Whoever did it has knowledge about end times judgment. Don't think it's satanic, but the other extreme.

  • posted at 7:09 pm on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Dogs4you, you mite want two czech you’re own speling be for critizing that off others.

  • posted at 6:50 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Its the Satan Worshipers. They are gearing up for to give their invocation at the City Council Meetings.

  • posted at 6:30 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    The way holy was spelled, holly, your not working with a bunch on their way to MIT. I rather think they spent 4 years in the 12th grade and graduated when they were 22 years old if they graduated at all. Shouldn`t be to hard to find out who did this, there are only a few places around that have new born goats, or just wait for these brain trusts to brag about what they did, and they will. All are Loosers and Slackers.

  • posted at 5:26 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Weezer thats exactly what I'm saying! haha. This is way worse on soooo many levels. I dont understand how people can be so sick!Poor Baby Goats.....

  • posted at 5:21 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    voodoo!!! Black Magic!...to a church?...wtf l0l...

  • posted at 4:54 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Where are those animal rights activists in the Thornton incident?This is just so wrong.I agree that whoever did this needs counselling.

  • posted at 4:31 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Great! This will bring all the crazies out of the woodwork.

  • posted at 4:22 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Ahhh- DAMIAN is on the loose!!!

  • posted at 4:20 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    ACI should go after these kids!very sorry for the people of the church.

  • posted at 3:46 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Just curious....does Bob Johnson go to this church? LOL!

  • posted at 3:27 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    I wonder what Holly did to deserve such hate?

  • posted at 3:22 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    But even if this was a "joke" whoever did this needs some serious counseling because I don't think too many people are laughing and this type of behavior could lead to something much more destructive and dangerous to actual human beings.

  • posted at 3:08 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    effa56 wrote: "...seems like wannnna bes."I agree. The police might want to look for teen-aged kids who are children of members of this church; why else would this particular church be targeted?

  • posted at 2:58 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    I hope they catch them soon. YOU DON'T HURT ANIMALS!!!!!

  • posted at 1:46 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    Yes, sounds like kids trying to make the news paper....

  • posted at 1:29 am on Tue, Jun 9, 2009.


    yes sacarfaice is part of satanism and so are the mumbojumbo wording with various sings. usually not done if public areas though seems like wannnna bes

  • posted at 10:53 pm on Mon, Jun 8, 2009.


    Do satan worshippers sacrifice animals?



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