Goat rustling has become a scourge across Fresno County.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday on social media that there have been seven cases of goat thefts since Jan. 7 from Easton to Riverdale. There have been dozens of stolen goats, estimated by their owners to be worth a total of more than $30,000.
The sheriff’s office shared a Facebook post from a woman who said someone stole all of her son’s 4-H goats from a friend’s home in Easton, south of Fresno.
A standard goat can fetch between $60 to $100 when sold, but 11 of the stolen goats belonged to 4-H students and those goats are valued at $500 each, said sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti.
“The difficulty with trying to track down goats is that they are not branded like cattle,” Botti said. “They might be ear tagged, but if that is removed, they can easily blend in with a herd. We ask that victims monitor online sites where buying and selling is done. If they attend a live auction and notice animals resembling theirs, notify the auctioneer to stop the sale and ask them to call law enforcement. We think these goats are being taken primarily for meat purposes.”
Sheriff officials also warn livestock owners to “be vigilant” by making sure fences and gates are secure, locking up animals at night, and investing in cameras that can capture images of vehicles and license plates.