Lawsuit claims Shasta Co. officers seized girl's pet goat, county fair had it slaughtered

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Saturday, September 3, 2022
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REDDING, Calif. (KGO) -- A mother is suing after officers drove over 500 miles roundtrip from Shasta County to the Bay Area to "unlawfully" seize and slaughter a goat that was the subject of a custody dispute between the family and the Shasta District Fair.

Cedar the goat became a beloved addition to the family of Jessica Long, whose daughter - referred to in court documents as "E.L." - became attached to the animal after months of raising it as part of the 4-H youth program.

Cedar was to be auctioned off for slaughter at the Shasta District Fair in June, along with other program participants. However, when the day came for E.L. to part ways with Cedar, she couldn't bring herself to do it.

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The complaint filed by Advancing Law for Animals on Wednesday says: "Before bidding began, Plaintiffs sought to terminate their participation in the junior livestock auction portion of the fair. However, representatives of Shasta Fair Association refused to permit this, stating to Plaintiffs simply that the governing fair rules prohibited it. Upon information and belief, there are no such legally enforceable rules which would have precluded Plaintiffs' from terminating their participation in the livestock auction."

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The law group said Cedar was purchased in April and legally belonged to E.L. Long offered to pay for any damages to the Shasta Fair Association, who would have received around a $63 cut from the sale of Cedar's meat.

As a precaution, the family removed Cedar from the premises and moved him to a farm in Sonoma County for safekeeping. Long even sought out the original bidder, California State Senator Brian Dahle, who waived his right to Cedar.

This prompted the representatives from the Shasta Fair Association to get law enforcement involved and attempted to charge Long with grand theft.

After obtaining a warrant to search for and seize Cedar under "probable cause" at a farm in Napa County, Shasta County Lieutenant Jerry Fernandez and Detective Jacob Duncan headed there to obtain the goat, who was not found on the premises. The two were later redirected to Cedar's location in Sonoma County, where they allegedly seized him without a warrant.

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Cedar was then sent off to be slaughtered shortly after that.

Advancing Law for Animals continues on to say: "In doing the acts of which Plaintiffs complain, Defendants willfully, intentionally, or recklessly violated Plaintiffs' civil rights. Their actions were willful, wanton, malicious, and oppressive, and, accordingly, Plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages."

Read the full complaint below:

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