Baby goats found after going missing in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY — A half-dozen baby goats that disappeared overnight from a ranch in unincorporated Salt Lake County were back at home less than 24 hours later, their owners said.

"We’re just in shock. We cannot believe they’re found," said Cross E Ranch co-owner Dalon Hinckley. "They were all starving, but they’re all fine and back home, so wow, what a miracle!"

Cross E Ranch is asking for the public’s help Monday after it says six of the baby goats on the ranch were stolen overnight.

Early Monday morning, Hinckley woke up to find a four-wheeler in the road. He believes thieves tried to steal the ATV that needs new parts, but couldn’t haul the vehicle away and made off with the kid goats instead.

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After a farm worker who feeds the goats called Hinckley about 7:30 a.m. to say their pens were open, Hinckley searched around the cattle ranch but could not find the six Nubian goats. Dwarf-sized, with floppy ears, the group together is valued at $1,200 to $1,400, Hinckley estimates.

A woman texted the ranch phone at 4:45 p.m. to say that she had found the goats in her backyard in the Glendale neighborhood in Salt Lake City, where Hinckley retrieved them, he said.

Representatives with the ranch are offering a reward for any information in this case.

The group includes a 3-week-old, Mila, a runt who was given CPR after her heart stopped at birth and defied the odds to survive, Hinckley said. Four of the goats were born in the same litter.

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‘Kid’-napping: six baby goats stolen from Salt Lake farm

The six shared a pen with a baby pig, Ollie, who livens up in the goats’ company but was left behind when his pals were taken.

"He’s been kind of just moping around," Hinckley said earlier in the day.

"I don’t know why someone would steal them. it seems like a strange choice," Hinckley said in a phone interview while shopping for a new security system at Home Depot. "You’re not going to get very much meat off of that. You’re not going to raise it — they’re bottle fed four times a day."

The ranch operated by Hinckley and his sister, Heather Limon, hosts a baby-animal festival each spring.

The woman saw media coverage of the missing goats and called the Cross E Ranch.

Hinckley said he has heard reports from other homeowners nearby about thefts and believes they may be related.

Still being bottle fed, “The babies are really little,” he said. So while they may have looked really cute to a thief, “It’s like somebody has got to be a mommy for six little baby goats and I don’t think most people are mommies to goats these days.” Hinckley said it’s likely they don’t know how to take care of them, “Most people aren’t going to have a goat they can’t milk and bottle feed other goats. If an animal is going to die, I don’t want it to starve to death. That seems like a pretty cruel and inhumane way to die,” he said.

Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke said his agency was in the early stages of its investigation Monday. Lohrke said he could not recall the last time his department received a report of missing goats.

The farm has an existing security system, but it mostly monitors the inside of buildings, Hinckley said.

Dalon Hinckley told The Salt Lake Tribune that a woman came home from work and found the kids on her property. She had no idea where they came from, he said.

Hinckley, who runs the ranch with his sister Heather Limon, believes whoever stole the animals got nervous because of the news coverage and just left them in the yard. He said the goats were hungry but seem fine.

”We thought there was no way those goats were going to be found,” he said.

In addition to farming, the ranch, at 3500 N. 2000 West, offers interactive experiences to connect people with agriculture and holds public events, including festivals.

The goats are all 3- or 4-weeks-old and were still being bottle fed with their mothers’ milk, said Limon.

“If they don’t feed them correctly, they’ll just keep crying and crying,” Limon said.

The baby goats — two males and four females named Reggie, Archie, Aspen, Mila, Fawn and Josie — shared a pen with a baby pig named Oli. On Monday morning, Oli was in the pen and the door was shut, but the kids were nowhere to be seen, despite a search of the area.

Oli had been sharing living quarters with the goats because he was lonely, Limon said, adding that “now he’s lonely again.”

She said there were other signs that thieves are responsible for the disappearance of the goats, including a four-wheeler that belongs to the ranch sitting abandoned in the middle of the road.

Cross E’s security cameras did not catch the theft of the goats, which are worth about $1,400, according to the ranch’s Facebook postings. Limon said the kids were going to be part of the ranch’s yearly Baby Animal Festival, which begins April 4.

Posted in Salt Lake City