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Newest Police Service Animal: The Police Goat

Newest Police Service Animal: The Police Goat

Goats Nibbles, right, and Bits graze in their pen at the Corrigan-Radgowski correctional institution in Uncasville, Conn. [AP]

Associated Press

April 29, 2010

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) – Two members of the work detail at a Connecticut state prison are expected to be penned there for life, working on the fence line to remove weeds and poison ivy. They seem to like the work and actually find the poison ivy delicious.

Nibbles and Bits, a pair of goats, were taken to the Corrigan-Radgowski prison in a rural patch of southeastern Connecticut just over a year ago after being rescued as kids from separate area farms that didn’t want them.

Joe Schoonmaker, the corrections officer who oversees landscaping at the 1,500-inmate prison, heard about the goats and asked the warden.

“We threw the idea at him that we could use them to get into the hard-to-get areas, like the hillside and the fence line,” he said.

So when it’s impossible or impractical to get a weed trimmer or lawnmower somewhere on prison property, Schoonmaker calls in Nibbles and Bits.

They eat anything, except mountain laurel.

Schoonmaker and Officer Jason Ware pay the $20-per-month cost of feed- oats- from their own pockets.

Everything else the animals need has been built by prisoners or donated. Their pen is a converted shed, just outside the prison fence. It has its own fence, built by inmates from trees that were taken down because they were deemed to be too close to the barbed-wire.

The goats also have their own small recreation yard, which includes a handmade playscape. Every morning, Nibbles gets on one side of a balance board and Bits goes to the other, Schoonmaker said. They meet in the middle and butt heads.

A local vet donates his time. The wood shavings in the pen come from a saw mill.

What the goats don’t require is pay, close supervision or gasoline, Warden Anthony Coletti said. They have saved the prison time, manpower and about $200 a year, mostly the cost of gas.

“Every day they eat their weight in weeds,” Coletti said.

Only minimum security inmates get to work with the goats. Many are nearing the end of their sentences.

“It gives inmates a sense of purpose to care for farm animals,” Coletti said. “And they really learn to care for them and about them. Everyone loves the goats.”

And the goats seem to love the warden, or at least his fleece jacket, which Nibbles tried to have as a snack while posing for a recent portrait.

“I told you, they’ll eat anything,” he said.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


+15
  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    almost 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    nifty solution

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    Criminology101

    almost 4 years ago

    200 Comments

    A different kind of animal misses their court date. Check us out online.

    www.RecoveryContractors.org

  • Draped_badge_max50

    184retired

    almost 4 years ago

    3804 Comments

    By the headline, all I could picture is the boss trying to get officers to be on the goat squad. Now the goats gotta hide from the prisoners.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    BForJuvCor

    almost 4 years ago

    846 Comments

    If they use goats to thin the lawn maybe they are onto something here. How about bears to thin the prison population, particularly sex offenders and Cop killers!

  • Radio2_max50

    FireDad

    almost 4 years ago

    7352 Comments

    LOL.. at least the prison is saving some money...

  • N1023300020_30025442_7610_max50

    KAICHARESE

    almost 4 years ago

    2780 Comments

    cool

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50

    rhood

    almost 4 years ago

    23592 Comments

    Creative solutions, this is a win-win solution for them and the goats.

  • Images_max50

    OFFICER_K_CPD

    almost 4 years ago

    2296 Comments

    Cool.

  • Erin222_max50

    Kitten81

    almost 4 years ago

    1252 Comments

    Awww, that's cute....and kudos to the man who rescued them. That's interesting that they can eat poison ivy....

  • Snoopy_6_max50

    Jonas

    almost 4 years ago

    41138 Comments

    I know there are more baaaad jokes here. I just can't think of one at the moment. LOL!!! Keep up the good work kids.

  • Police_1__sq90_1__max50

    ohcop

    almost 4 years ago

    698 Comments

    AZ--- are EWE KID ding me that was BAA d I'm here all week too

  • Meangreen01_max50

    AZmeangreen

    almost 4 years ago

    2338 Comments

    So... are these the Goats that Stare at Men ? I'll be here all week. =P

  • Image_max50

    usa_24

    almost 4 years ago

    5022 Comments

    Wow is right.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    When the latest Police Service Animals are goats... Welll I know I am getting old...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    almost 4 years ago

    wow.

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