'Goats R Us' Facing Animal Neglect Charges
|Lawyers, herders, goats, and judges will meet in court|
Judge Paul Fogel of Alameda County Superior Court ordered owner Egon Oyarzun and herder Wilfredo Felix to stand trial; both will be arraigned next week on animal neglect charges. Their troubles stem from October arrests after animal control officers found 10 dead goats and dozens of malnourished animals on the Orinda company's pasture.
Goats R Us was founded in 1995. It offers Angora, Alpine, Spanish, Boer, Pygmy, La Mancha, and Nubian goats for use in "fuel mitigation and star thistle eradication," per its website. It additionally notes that its goats "have also gained quite a reputation for brush reduction projects."
The Orinda company also breeds herding dogs such as border collies.
Egon Oyarzun "was born and raised in rural Southern Chile where he helped his father earn a living by breaking oxen to pull carts." His website claims the herders are "recruited from South America, having been referred for their outstanding ability to work with livestock."
The company claims members of its herd are well cared for even beyond their productive years:
As with any good company, Goats R Us has a retirement program for its loyal four footed employees. The goats in our herd are never sold for any reason, and when their "golden years" approach, their scope of work is kept local, just outside of our ranch, where they can roam the hills without encumbering the stress of traveling between locations. All goats are supplemented year round, wormed three times a year and vaccinated, but the geriatrics are given special consideration. They are our "buddies," and an integral part of our team, without whom we wouldn't be able to enjoy our success. Frequently, these retirees are visitors at local schools or senior centers becoming ambassadors for their kind.
Messages left with Goats R Us have not yet been returned.