100 goats, chewing everything, invade Boise neighborhood

"I just saw dozens and dozens of goats chewing up my neighbors’ yards."

Scores of goats much on the flora and fauna in a residential area of Boise, Idaho, Friday, Aug 3, 2018. About 100 escaped goats munched on manicured lawns in Idaho's capital city on Friday morning before being rounded up and hauled away. (Ruth Brown/Idaho Statesman via AP)
–Ruth Brown / Idaho Statesman via AP

No blade of grass, no rose bush nor flower bed, was safe from the goats.

Goats do not belong on West Summerwind Drive, a quiet residential area in Boise, Idaho. But do not tell them that. Goats roam where they please, and around 7:15 a.m. Friday, bewildered homeowners awoke to find more than 100 of the animals casing the neighborhood, looking for anything they could munch on.

“I just saw dozens and dozens of goats chewing up my neighbors’ yards,” Chris Kozlowski said by telephone, adding that he had to clean up droppings on his driveway and yard. “We used to live in the mountains, and it’d be nothing to see them driving hundreds of goats down Main Street. But certainly not in Boise.”

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The local television station KTVB, the leading authority on Boise goat invasions, got the scoop. It was closely chronicled by Joe Parris, a politics and breaking news reporter who made a strong case for any goat-related journalism awards.

The goats busted out of a nearby field, where a company that rents the animals for landscaping purposes — goats are good at eating weeds — had kept them. The company is called We Rent Goats.

By 8:30 a.m., We Rent Goats had corralled the creatures back into a truck, and the excitement was over. Efforts to reach We Rent Goats were unsuccessful Friday.

Parris said in an interview that the goats were friendly, and that he got to pet one. They were not very noisy, aside from the chewing. The smell, he said, was awful.

But while the residents were witnessing real-time property damage, they seemed to be in a good mood about it. Children jumped up and down in excitement.

“You would assume the homeowners were upset that their lawns were being destroyed, but everyone was enjoying it,” Parris said. “Everyone was really happy about it.”

Ruth Brown/Idaho Statesman via AP

The goat-renting company has insurance “and will be following up with neighbors whose landscaping was damaged,” said Haley Williams, a spokeswoman for the Boise Police Department.

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The escape provided a brief moment of joyful respite on social media, where people stopped arguing about politics for long enough to laugh at the goats. Parris’ dispatches were shared tens of thousands of times, and for a few minutes the internet was a moderately happy place. (The incessant notifications froze Parris’ phone, and he had to delete Twitter just to call into the station, he said.)

For Parris, covering a sudden goat rodeo was significantly more fun than covering the wildfires that have raged in Idaho in recent days.

“I had a great morning,” he said.

Ruth Brown/Idaho Statesman via AP