Man arrested after goats found dying, malnourished

November 29, 2010 7:19:56 PM PST
A company that uses goats to keep grass under control on hillsides and empty lots is in serious trouble. The owner of Goats R Us has been arrested and charged with animal abuse after police found sick and dying goats on a piece of property where the old Oak Knoll Naval Hospital is located in the Oakland hills.

Oakland Animal Services Director Megan Webb showed ABC7 video she took of starving baby and pigmy goats at the former Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. The video shows a dying goat being trampled by others vying for the hay which animal control officers had brought.

Investigators did not show the most shocking photographs, saying that evidence would be released in court during trial. The images were so graphic that the judge at the preliminary hearing said the scene resembled a "goat concentration camp."

The family-owned company has thousands of goats grazing across the state, working to reduce brush, minimizing fire danger. Goats R Us was hired to do the same thing at the former naval base, which may be converted into a housing and shopping center.

When animal control officers showed up Oct. 2 they smelled rotting flesh in a courtyard of the sprawling 167 acre site.

"There were multiple dead goats on the scene in various stages of decomposition, everywhere from skeletons to brandly new goats," Webb said. "We counted 10 goats that had perished there and we also impounded four goats that were very, very sick."

Webb says about 60 goats were in the courtyard, all very hungry.

"They had no food that we could locate; the food that they had eaten, the vegetation they had stripped the trees all the way to the point that they could reach," she said. "Most of the animals were sick with parasites, pneumonia, other diseases."

Oakland Zoo curators were brought in to help with the animals.

Deputy District Attorney Matt Gaidos says his office was affected by what they saw.

"They were quite shocked at the level of the health of the goats and the conditions the goats were in," he said.

Police arrested Egon Oyarzun, who owns the business with his wife. He was charged with animal abuse and neglect. He will be arraigned next week in Alameda County.

One of the company's herders was arrested as well.


Load Comments