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Attack kills fainting goats

By Steve Huffman
shuffman@salisburypost.com
James Stocks has raised fainting goats for the better part of 20 years, the relatively-small animals more pets than anything.
“I’ve had people come by and want to buy one,” Stocks said. “I’ve told them, ‘I might consider selling you one if you promise you’re not going to eat it.’ ”
Stocks, who lives on Homer Corriher Road outside China Grove, awoke Friday to some bad news concerning his four beloved goats. Two were dead after being mauled by a dog or some other animal. The two remaining goats were so badly mangled they had to be put down.
“This is sad,” Stocks said. “My granddaughter is going to bawl when she hears about it.”
Stocks said he thinks a neighbor’s dog got into the fence where he kept the goats and attacked them. They’re fairly easy prey. According to Stocks, fainting goats were bred by shepherds to pass out when frightened.
The idea, Stocks said, was for the goats to mingle with more-valued sheep. When a wolf or similar predator attacked, the goats would pass out while the sheep fled. The goats thereby saved the sheep.
Stocks said his goats weighed about 60 pounds each. He said that whenever he pulled in his driveway, the goats would hurry to the end of their fenced area and bellow him a welcome home.
They were all named, though Stocks said he more often than not simply referred to the whole bunch as “goatie-goats.”
Stocks said he called the Post Friday morning to report the loss of his goats simply as a warning to those in the county who own similar livestock.
He said he thinks a neighbor’s dog killed his goats, but he can’t prove it. Stocks reported the killings to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, but said he’s been told his only recourse is to pursue civil action.
Since he can’t prove the animal that killed the goats, that’s not possible, Stocks said. He said the goats sell for about $100 each.
The loss of the animals as friends is much more costly.
On Friday morning, Stocks dug a big hole and prepared to bury the goats in a mass grave. He said that at one time, he owned as many as 16 of the goats. Their life expectancy, Stocks said, is about 15 years, so a number of his older goats have died out.
Whether he buys more of the goats, Stocks said, depends greatly upon the reaction of his grandchildren to news of the passing of his pets. Stocks has 11 grandchildren.
He said he has a Cyclone fence around property and it used to be electric. But the electric portion of the fence was broken long ago, and Stocks never repaired it, a decision he now regrets.
“If the fence had been electric, it probably would have saved them,” he said.

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