On that farm, she found her goat: rare goat not stolen from farmer Macdonald afterall

After rare animal went missing, farmer Macdonald’s feared livestock thieves were at work

  • May. 11, 2011 11:00 a.m.

Valella, a three-year-old Oberhasli goat, was found Wednesday morning after her owners spent two days fearing the rare animal had been stolen.

“I feel quite foolish, but also really grateful for the immense amount of support I received,” Valerie Macdonald said. Macdonald said after finding the goat trapped under a hay manger on the property.

Macdonald is a hobby farmer, breeding goats to create Canadian purebred Oberhasli, a rare breed related to the European Ibex. There are only about 40 of the goats in Canada, 13 of which are on the Macdonald family farm, including Valella and her 11-month-old kid Xing Xing.

It was a happy ending but did serve to bring to light the problem of livestock theft, which is a growing concern for farmers in Saanich and throughout the province.

“Over the years, there have been instances of sheep going missing, stuff like that, in the more rural parts of the municipality, so it’s not uncommon,” said Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen.

In recent months, law enforcement agencies in the Fraser Valley – Langley, Aldergrove, Chilliwack and Abbotsford – have dealt with a rash of these types of thefts, where mass numbers of pigeons, chickens, sheep and goats disappear overnight.

“This clearly wasn’t someone stealing a car stereo one day, and pigeons the next. It was people that had some familiarity with some networks to sell livestock and fowl,” said Abbotsford police public information officer Const. Ian MacDonald. “Some of these animals would be auctioned off, and, in a couple of instances, were either being sold by word of mouth or actually through Craig’s List.”

He said the pigeons – more than 5,000 of which were stolen – were likely sold for $5 to $10 each to restaurants or other breeders. The goats could get upwards of $400 each at auction.

Macdonald, the Saanich farmer, was aware of the incidents in the Lower Mainland when she discovered Valella missing Monday morning. With no evidence pointing to an escape or cougar attack, her thoughts went immediately went to theft. Before finding the animal, she shared her fears with the News: “I don’t know if she was targeted because of her breed, or just some silly people thought they might come in here and take a goat for a lark, or maybe she was stolen for meat,” she said Tuesday.

Macdonald says she spotted Valella’s ears sticking out from under the hay manger Wednesday morning and pushed the large wooden structure away so the goat could escape.

“She’s stiff, but she was kind of cozied up under there. It’s a dry soft bed,” Macdonald said. “I guess it’s the equivalent of finding your child hiding under the bed after launching a huge neighbourhood search.”

Jantzen acknowledged the outcome of this incident was positive, but added these incidents do take place and cause people real emotional distress.

“When someone steals an animal from a family, it can be very emotional,” he said. “Given that most of our farms are hobby farms these animals are more like family members.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Harbour of Hope reaches $100k fundraising goal to help refugee families

Organization aims to cover the families’ living expenses for a year and beyond

French for the Future event to host 300 students in Victoria

Victoria event welcomes students from Greater Victoria and Vancouver

Victoria school district to spend $10,589 per student next year

School board approves $250 million budget

Driver crashes car into building on Quadra Street

Emergency crews respond to single vehicle crash Thursday morning near Mason Street

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

B.C. woman pleads for people to stop stealing daffodils meant to honour cancer victims

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Most Read