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Owner fears goat a casualty in feud

Police investigate after a goat is found hanging from a tree; the owner links the incident to a neighborhood dispute.

By MARY CARMICHAEL

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Devil Dog was whining again. The 2-month-old pet goat had free reign of Dawn Rogers' yard and a pen to sleep in, but he seemed to like it better inside. So when he started bleating plaintively at the back door on Wednesday afternoon, Rogers didn't make much of it.

"You could hear the goat's little "baaa'. . .," she said. "I thought, "He probably just wants in.' "

A few hours later, Rogers' 9-year-old son found Devil Dog hanging from a tree, with no other signs of injury. Rogers and her fiance buried the goat in the woods next to her house at 9943 Markham St. in the Moon Lake subdivision and did not report anything to the police.

The next day, a deputy knocked on Rogers' door looking for Devil Dog. They said a caller told them a juvenile was clubbing the goat with a golf club.

"I said, "Excuse me, but my goat died yesterday,' " Rogers said.

A Sheriff's Office report said Rogers told deputies she did not have any suspects.

But on Friday she told the Times -- and also deputies, she said -- that she believes the incident might have been the result of a neighborhood dispute.

Around 1 p.m. Wednesday, Rogers saw Devil Dog at the back door of her house. A few minutes later, she heard the goat bleating. "He tries to come in the house all the time," she said. "He was actually probably being strangled."

Rogers' father had bought the goat for her two weeks ago as a present. "This goat acted like a dog," she said. "He would walk with my dad, not wearing a leash or anything. He was like a dog, or even another kid."

Rogers is thinking about buying a new baby goat to replace Devil Dog, but this time it will stay in the back yard only, where it won't be as vulnerable as Devil Dog was in the front yard.

Meanwhile, she's hoping for justice while deputies continue investigating.

"The cops have been trying," she said, "and the truth will come out."

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