Two rare goats are missing from a New Jersey farm and worker Jeff Shaw fears the worst.
"It is the holiday season and people eat these. I think somebody just couldn't get one or couldn't afford it and took two of them," Shaw said.
Shaw works at Bay Acres Farm in Pennsville, where he breeds and sells Boer goats. He noticed earlier this week, during a headcount, that two of his goats were gone from the Salem County farm. The female goats, or does, are pure-bred and worth about $2,500 each, Shaw said, fueling his fears that "goat-nappers" are to blame.
People began importing Boer goats from South Africa to the United States about 18 years ago, according to Annette Williams with the United States Boer Goat Association.
"It's a goat that can gain about a pound of wonderful meat a day," Williams said. "When they first came here, they sold for between $20,000 and $30,000 each." Williams said the goats are bred for meat, milk and leather. "If a doe wins an incredible show, their kids can go for 3- to 4-thousand dollars each."
Williams said she has received five calls in the last week alerting her to stolen Boer goat cases in about four states.
"I think because they're so valuable and so sweet. You just shake a bucket with some grain in it and they'll follow you," she said.
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Shaw reported his missing goats to police on Wednesday. The Chief of Police, Allen J. Cummings, said this is an unusual case for Pennsville.
"You have thefts of people's property, burglaries and things like that. You usually don't hear of theft of farm animals," Cummings said.
Shaw is offering a $2,000 reward to get his goats back. Alive.
"They took my best," Shaw said. He warned that if someone does plan to eat them, they should know that one of the goats was on medication recently for a gastrointestinal problem.
"I guess it's a hateful thought, but whoever eats her is going to eat a lot of toxins that was in that goat that wasn't really meant for human consumption," Shaw said.
"So maybe God has a way of getting even."