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9 dead goats found on Jamul property, dozens more rescued

BONITA, Calif. – More than four dozen goats seized from a rural East County residential property, where several of the horned and bearded animals were found dead, were in the care of a county shelter Tuesday.

Animal-control officers sent Monday to a back-country neighborhood in the 17700 block of Sierra Cielo Lane in Jamul found nine dead goats they suspected had starved to death, another one they believed might not survive and several dozen more that were somewhat or severely underweight, according to the county Department of Animal Services.

Some of them also had seriously overgrown hooves and apparent respiratory infections, and others were pregnant. One gave birth while en route to the Bonita-area animal shelter, DAS spokesman Dan DeSousa said.

Veterinary staffers were evaluating the 52 surviving goats, providing medical attention as necessary and putting them on a healthy diet to bring them back up to their proper weights.

The owner of the animals — who had kept them as pets in corrals in his yard and sometimes sold some of them — told authorities their breeding essentially had gotten out of hand and overwhelmed his ability to care for them, animal-control Officer Tiffany Mushet said.

The man, whose name was not released, could face misdemeanor or felony criminal animal cruelty charges, pending the results of the county’s investigation in the case. He has 10 days to request a hearing during which he could formally contest the seizure of the goats, DeSousa said.