Goading goats a new goal in Brunswick County

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Just when you thought goats were welcome in Brunswick County, the state steps in to state otherwise.

According to the North Carolina Department of Administration, it’s time to eradicate all feral goats roaming three spoil islands along the Intracoastal Waterway near Ocean Isle Beach.

This came as surprising news to me this week.

For one thing, prior to this announcement, I didn’t know about the existence of these islands—Andrew, Alexander and Abigail Grace—apparently named for royalty or someone’s beloved triplets. No one—not even Google—seems to know for sure.

But the islands are there and apparently so are wild billies, nannies and maybe lots of kids.

According to the government, whom we can always trust, these wild goats are posing potential pollution problems on each of these isles where they were apparently let loose years ago to keep the population of weeds, brush, and beer cans down. Goats, you know, eat or drink just about anything.

They’re not shy, either.

I know this is true, because one time several decades back in the days of yore, I was dispatched to interview someone who kept goats in his yard. I had barely snapped the first photo before one of the feisty critters leapt up on top of a picnic table and tried to devour an empty plastic canister that had previously held 35 mm black-and-white Kodak film. (I told you it was the old days.)

Feral goats, however, might present more of a challenge for would-be captors. I can’t wait to learn how bidders, who are to submit amounts they wish to pay the state for this honor, plan to go about doing this. In this scenario, the “spoils”—and opportunity to humanely trap goats—go to the high bidder, according to North Carolina State Surplus, which is currently collecting bids.

All of this sort of contradicts the mission of the Goat Patrol, aka “the greener weed eater,” a little dealio in Durham that, for a fee, provides a herd of goats to come and perform grazing services for owners of overgrown yards.

According to www.goatpatrol.com:

“Goat Patrol offers an environmentally friendly solution to your weed and brush problems. Unlike noisy machines and toxic sprays, our goats remove problem plants quietly and safely. Our herd will happily devour English ivy, poison ivy, honeysuckle, wild rose, blackberry, kudzu, privet, Chinese wisteria, and more!

“We supply the fencing, the goats, and the watchful eye of a knowledgeable goat herd. You supply the jungle in your backyard.”

Unlike a lawnmower, “goats are quiet and won’t disturb your neighbors…Goats don’t burn fossil fuels…Their only emissions are natural fertilizers…Goats are non-toxic and pose no threat to the water supply.”

Try telling that to the government.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or e-mail llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.