As many as 200 goats were briefly on the loose in the Issaquah Highlands Tuesday (July 30) evening after they escaped an enclosure.
The goats — used by the grazing land-maintenance service Healing Hooves — were on assignment at the time of their 6 p.m. escape. Though their owner, shepherd Craig Madsen, isn’t sure how they got out, his best guess is that a fence or post was knocked over by one goat with the rest following suit.
When Madsen realized what had happened, his first thought was, “I gotta get them back into the pen.”
This isn’t the first time the goats have escaped while cleaning up property for Healing Hooves. In 2016, for instance, teenagers set off fireworks and scared the animals, resulting in a similar situation.
When asked if he has any specific technique to make the wrangling process easier, Madsen said it varies.
“You have to adapt to whatever the situation is,” he said.
Most of the goats, whom Madsen said split into groups, eventually wound up at a patch of land about a quarter of a mile away from where they had originally been grazing. Goats who splintered off into the neighborhood were put back into their original pen.
Madsen was especially appreciative of the Issaquah residents who saw what was happening and helped him track down and wrangle the goats.
On Friday, Aug. 1, Madsen planned to take a brief pre-planned vacation, then continue business as usual. He and his goats will return to the highlands later in the year, as well as embark on projects in Central Washington, Seattle and Fall City.
Though able to maintain a sense of humor, Madsen still hopes it never happens again.
“Each tool has its own advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “The disadvantage with goats is that they have a mind of their own, and that they can get out.”