Lucky to be alive

19:59, Oct 10 2012
GOATS
UNCHAINED: Minnie, left, and Moet are rescued from their tethers by the SPCA.

The SPCA is warning people to stop tethering goats after the discovery of two starving week-old kids.

One goat, Minnie was found curled up on a grass verge next to her dead mother. The kid is now being looked after at the SPCA Animal Village in Mangere.

"Her mother was one of the goats we would see tied at the side of the road to ‘keep the grass down'," SPCA farm technician Fiona McDonald says.

"Unfortunately she slipped and fell down the hill she was tied to and because she was tied up, she broke her neck and died."

Moet, who is also being looked after at the Animal Village, was found tied to a clothesline with no food, water or shelter.

Seized from her owner, she was bottle-fed by SPCA staff until she was old enough to eat on her own.

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Ms McDonald says many people get a goat thinking they make good lawn-mowers. But they actually need a lot of variety in their diet and cannot thrive on grass alone.

"That's just one reason why they shouldn't be tied up - they can't reach the feed they need.

"They are also quite agile animals and like to jump up high on to things, like their house or rocks. If they are tied up, they can easily get caught up and become injured - or worse."

Tethered goats are also at risk of pneumonia, which can be very difficult to treat.

"They don't have a protective fatty layer or wool to protect them from the elements so need very good shelter."

And footrot is another danger that tethered goats face, SPCA animal services manager Tracy Dunn says.

If they are unable to stand, climb and jump on different surfaces, their feet can easily get infected.

Goat tethering is a "big problem" in rural and semi-rural areas, Ms Dunn says.

"It's the ultimate New Zealand image for many people - a goat on a strip of grass at the side of the road."

While many goats aren't as lucky, Minnie and Moet are two SPCA success stories.

They, along with a few other goats, are now available for adoption.

"Most of the goats that we get at the SPCA love human interaction and love to spend time with people, especially when treats are involved," Ms McDonald says.

"They make great pets - you can take them for walks, teach them tricks and they make great companions for children."

Manukau Courier