Four animals in city program die in attack by unleashed pets
Rock Mountain News | June 10, 1999
Four cashmere goats grazing on weeds along Cherry Creek were killed by pet dogs Tuesday evening.
The dogs were being walked off leash, and their owner was cited for violating the city’s leash law and damaging private property.
Two of the goats -part of a pilot project to restore natural areas in the city -were killed instantly and two were destroyed Wednesday.
Animal control director Curtis Bradley declined to identify the owner Wednesday while negotiations were under way between her and the Department of Parks and Recreation for restitution. There is a fine of up to $999 each for city code violations.
Lani Lamming, of Ewe-4-ic Ecological Services in Alpine, Wyo., has been grazing her goats since March under a pilot project. The goats eat noxious weeds and other non-native vegetation from selected areas. Parks crews then reseed the areas with native plants.
Lamming said the dogs’ owner who recently moved from out of state -told her that a relative had said Denver didn’t require leashes on dogs while on public property.
The attack occurred about 6:30 p.m. on the north bank between South Monaco Parkway and South Quebec Street next to Place Middle School.
The herd of 100 goats was surrounded by a temporary electrified fence, and the hiking path was posted with orange cones and signs alerting people there was grazing ahead.
When the dogs saw the goats, they broke through the fence.
“They freight-trained right through the fence,” Lamming said. “I was shaking, my adrenaline was rushing.”
Lamming said she tried to fend off the attack while the owner yelled for the dogs to return. One dog readied to attack Lamming before they were brought under control, she said.
Four women helped Lamming gather the remaining goats.
Gayle Weinstein, Denver’s city naturalist who drew up the grazing program, said the attack won’t stop the program.
“This is a healthy way to restore and create a better habitat,” Weinstein said, because it cuts down the need for pesticides and mowing.