(Photos courtesy Suzanne Krom)
E-mail asked the question. So did a WSB Forums post. Where did the goats go?
“The goats” referred to JJ, Deli, and Bama, who live along Jacobsen Road, the winding bluffside road that runs eastward from Beach Drive, just south of Me-Kwa-Mooks. They endeared themselves to passersby, particularly starting a few months ago, when their owner, George Capestany, put in a little “feeding station” like the kind often seen at petting zoos.
Nearby resident Suzanne Krom explained, “For 25 cents, we could get a handful of goat goodies they gently lapped up. If the goats weren’t waiting for us up by their feeding station, there was a bell we could ring and they would come running to greet us and eager for treats.”
About a week ago, Suzanne noticed the machine and bell were gone, “leaving only an empty wood frame as a painful memorial.”
She reached George, who told her that after some late-night visitors came by over the preceding weekend, a neighbor had complained and said the feeding station had to go.
Suzanne says she’s heartbroken: “When I spoke with him, he told me how much joy it had brought so many of our neighbors, and to his family, as well. I know this is true, as it’s become the talk of my group of friends and neighbors. Before this turn of events, almost every time I passed their home, there was a person taking photos of the goats, or kids and parents feeding them, with the kids often giggling – everyone was clearly enjoying this light spot in their day.” She said George told her he would return the feeding station if it seemed to have community support.
We contacted him to see if that were true. First, he told us the story:
I put the feeder up on March 26th. I installed it because people were always wanting to see the goats. They would have regular visitors but weren’t always up at the fence. I thought it could be a way of having people interact with the goats that would be a good experience for both. THAT WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! It became unbelievably popular. When I first put it up I thought I’d refill the machine maybe 2 or 3 times a month. I grossly underestimated volume. It started out slow and then I was filling the machine 2 or 3 times a week and eventually everyday. Sometimes twice a day! There were all kinds of people enjoying and feeding the goats. And the goats were loving it too. I was amazed how many people thanked me for putting the feeder up. I was also amazed how many adults would make special trips just to feed the goats. People came from Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, I made it a habit of asking how they heard about it. The other thing that was great was the number of little kids who were getting exposed to something they perhaps hadn’t seen before. I mean, it is somewhat bucolic and that’s hard to find in the city. It’s popularity may have lead to it’s demise.
George said he was worried that the feeder might be an irresistible trouble magnet come summer – and weekend before last, he says, that happened, leading a neighbor, he said, to declare “The goats have become too much,” bringing too much traffic, noise, and raising safety concerns.
He says he offered to take the feeder down at night, but the neighbor only seemed placated by the concept of complete removal. In retrospect, he says, he wishes he had refused, but “not knowing if my goats and I were fully in compliance of the law, I agreed. I needed to make sure that I was within my rights to do what I was doing. I put up the sign (which I
have attached) and started to research what I could and could not do. Turns out that all I needed to do was get a business license and everything else was completely legal and, to put it in the words of the city official ‘a really cool thing’.”
(Yes, city law allows pet goats.)
George vows, “I am absolutely going to put the feeder back up! The number of people who
have been put off by this incident has been remarkable. I have had people actually knock at the front door asking what happened and are we going to bring it back. I love my goats! First and foremost I want them to be safe and sound. … My goats are very calming to me.
Sometimes I like to sit and just watch them.”
No timeline, though. But the goats even have their own e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Two of the goats appeared here two years ago, also thanks to a photo by Suzanne.
9:46 PM UPDATE: The goat feeder is back, as mentioned by commenters; we drove by to verify a short time ago.