As staff at The Lost Dogs’ Home made their way into work this morning, a distinctive bleating could be heard from within a concealed pen usually reserved for those animals who bark, not bleat.
A juvenile goat – made famous yesterday during what media have dubbed the ‘Great Melbourne Goat Chase’ – enjoyed her breakfast of grains and hay, oblivious of the drama she caused police and council rangers in the city’s north over the past two and a half weeks.
Nicknamed ‘Houdini’, this little goat was first noticed running around the Essendon airport in late January, after several commuters reported they had narrowly avoided hitting her on the Tullamarine Freeway. Translink contacted The Lost Dogs’ Home to provide assistance in capturing the agile and anxious goat but she proved too elusive.
“Our team worked with the Translink incident controllers to capture her but she managed to evade all efforts, using tunnels, bridges and the Moonee Valley Creek to escape,” Operations Manager Jodie Addamo said.
The goat was next spotted in the Moreland area; however, once again, she ran away before any staff members could get too near.
“I’d say she probably wasn’t hand-reared by humans, otherwise she would have followed people and been easy to catch,” Jodie said. “By that point, she was used to having humans chase her and she was really wary around our team – she wouldn’t let them get too near or she would just bolt.”
After another marathon effort yesterday morning, which saw the goat once again slip through our clutches, the Home got a call in the afternoon to say the goat had moved into the City of Melbourne, near the Parkville area. Senior Animal Management Officer, Louise Barrett, prepped her team, as well as officers from Victoria Police and even a Channel 7 news crew, on a strategy for capturing the goat.
“They had to be mindful that they didn’t send the goat off in a blind panic out onto the road, into traffic where she could endanger her own life and the lives of other people,” Jodie said. “Public safety and the welfare of the goat were the highest priorities.”
With nets, blockades and even a helicopter overhead to track the whereabouts of the goat, it took the team five hours to finally get their hands of the wriggling young kid. A Channel 7 Sound Assistant – there to cover the story as it unfolded – managed to catch and hold on to the goat before Louise and her team took over.
“We brought little Houdini back to the safety of the shelter, where she is enjoyed a big meal and a well-earned rest,” Jodie said. “Our rangers, the police officers and the film crew definitely deserve a rest as well, after their amazing efforts to catch her… it certainly wouldn’t have been easy!”
As for where the spirited goat came from, well, no-one really knows.
“It’s unusual for a goat to be wandering around a suburban area,” Jodie acknowledged. “She could have been living in someone’s backyard or she could have come off the back of a truck. She’s a little mystery!”
Jodie said Houdini had no identifying tags or marks; however she will be held at the shelter until an owner steps forward or we can find her a suitable new home.
“We’ve already received lots of generous offers from kind people wanting to give little Houdini a home,” Jodie said. “We’ve had goats in the shelter in the past and we’ve also got a good network of contacts that are willing to help us with adopting out farm animals. But rest assured: Houdini won’t be running around freeways any time soon!”