12 goats die in dog attack

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
GOLD HILL — Goats that typically flocked to Ray Fesperman when he sat down in a plastic chair at the barn are now afraid to get near their owner.
“I would sit down and they would come all around me,” he said. “Now, they won’t come to me, they’re scared.”
The goats are shaken up from an attack by two Rottweilers that entered their pen at the Bald Eagle Lane home on Wednesday morning.
“All he had to do before was walk out and they would follow him,” said Robin Coley, Fesperman’s daughter. “Now, they are hiding.”
A dozen of Fesperman’s goats didn’t survive the attack. Sixteen others were injured.
“When I got here you couldn’t tell how bad it was because all of them were covered in blood,” said Melody Hartman, another of Fesperman’s daughters.
Coley said their mother, Pauline, said “it looked like a slaughterhouse.”
Three of the goats were already dead when the veterinarian arrived. Nine others had to be euthanized.
Both of Fesperman’s milk goats died.
“I hate they killed my milk goats because they were just so gentle,” he said. “When you came out to milk them they just stood there, they never fought you.
“Now, I’m going to have to buy milk.”
Hartman said some of the goats had lacerations so deep you could see the bone.
“One of the milk goats had skin pulled off all the way from its collar to its ear,” she said. “Another one’s ear was torn almost all the way off.”
The vet gave the 16 surviving goats tetanus shots and antibiotics Wednesday, Hartman said.
Hartman has spent about two hours each day irrigating the puncture wounds, applying a topical antibiotic betadine and giving them iron for the inflammation and swelling.
Fesperman said the goats were mostly pets, but he usually sold some of the males for about $200 each.
“Both of my parents are on fixed incomes,” Hartman said. “They get a little extra money by selling goats.”
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The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has charged the owner of the dogs, Daniel Kesler, 22, of 255 Recreation Drive in Salisbury, with allowing animals to run at large.
“Animal control has got (the dogs) now and I hope he doesn’t get them back,” Fesperman said.
Hartman said she’s glad people weren’t injured in the attack, which police believe occurred between 7 and 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“Mama usually goes to milk the goats around that time, but she was running late,” she said. “I’m glad she wasn’t out there because she could’ve been attacked.”
Amanda Gardner’s babysitter lives directly behind the Fespermans. She had just dropped her 3-year-old daughter, Harlow, off for the day when she noticed the attack.
“It’s really horrible,” she said. “Our family lives on that road, so that could have been my cousin, my nephew or my daughter, and you can’t replace them.”
Fesperman said Wednesday’s attack was the second one within a year. One goat was killed during the first incident.
He said animal control took the dogs that time, but turned them back over to Kesler later.
Animal control officers did not returns phone calls from a Post reporter seeking comment Friday.
Hartman said it’s not uncommon for the dogs to run free.
Gardner said that is not only frustrating, but scary.
“I hate to rant and rave about it … but no one has the right to blatantly endanger someone else’s livelihood or pets like that, much less human beings,” she said.
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David Trexler, a family friend from Trexler Trucking, used a backhoe to dig a hole large enough to bury the deceased goats Wednesday.
Fesperman was still in shock about the attack Friday.
“I don’t know what to think,” he said. “I’ve had back problems, a stroke, colon cancer, everything you can think of so I can’t do much,” he said.
“I just like to come out here and sit with my goats.”
Hartman said her father has taken the loss of their beloved pets hard.
“He got sick afterward,” she said. “He’s a diabetic and he forgot to take his medicine Wednesday.
Although Fesperman said he loved them all, Hartman said his favorite goat was died after the attack.
“That one would just jump up in his lap,” she said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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