Pet goat seized by police under court order, barbecued and eaten (the story behind this)

There is quite an involved but interesting story behind the headline but essentially, a nine-year-old girl (‘EL’) took her a goat called ‘Cedar’ to the Shasta County District Fair (‘Fair’) under what is called a 4-H program where children raise and then sell their animals for slaughter.

Although Cedar was taken to the Fair for slaughter EL fell in love with her goat and changed her mind. Note: 4-H is a U.S.-based network of youth organizations whose mission is “engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development”.

Cedar. Image: Nathan Winograd’s email.

As I understand it, at the Fair, California State Senator Brian Dahle bought the goat from the girl but as she couldn’t part with it, he agreed graciously to allow her to keep it. Her family offered to refund monies paid including damages incurred by the Fair which amounted according to Nathan Winograd (animal advocate), to $63.14.

The girl then left the Fair with her goat. That should have been the end of it. But the organisers of the Fair didn’t like it. They thought that the girl’s actions would undermine the purpose of their Fair.

Cedar and the 9-year-old girl EL
Cedar and the 9-year-old girl EL. Image: Winograd’s email to me.

They in effect turned a very minor civil matter which was resolved into a criminal one and obtained a court order signed by Judge Monique McKee which was given to the police to allow them to seize the goat.

In order to achieve that, they crossed several county lines. The property where the goat was located was well identified through the court order which described it accurately. And it describe the goat’s appearance as well.

The goat was seized and returned to the Fair where it was slaughtered, barbecued and eaten.

Nathan Winograd, America’s high-profile animal advocate, who reported this to me, states that no crime had been committed (which it hadn’t) as this was a civil matter and that the court’s actions and those of the police were in breach of the girl’s constitutional rights.

A complaint has been submitted accusing the sheriff’s deputies and Fair officials of violating 19 U.S.C. Section 1983.

The girl’s lawyers claim that the defendants conspired to deprive her of her constitutional rights when they seized her goat because she was the goat’s legal owner. They did this when knowing or they should have known that no crime had been committed thereby violating the Constitution’s fourth amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures. No criminal charges have been filed.

It looks like the police were employed to carry out noncriminal investigative matters. That’s an abuse of the police force. And they shouldn’t have taken on the role because they’ve got egg on their faces. It is very bad publicity for the police. They should have realised that this was a civil matter. And as for the judge: shame on her. She got this very wrong. She appears to have given way to bullying by the Fair’s organisers.

The extremely bad and insensitive handling of this matter by the organisers of the Fair is compounded by the fact that in the place where the events unfolded, Shasta County, the state has decriminalised most theft-related offences under Proposition 47. The offer of restitution should have ended the matter as Nathan Winograd states.

Finally, the publicity for the Fair is awful. It couldn’t worse. Their behavior was incredibly insensitive.

If animals had a religion, humans would be the DEVIL!!!

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