Two Goats Wounded in Attack by Unleashed Dog in Arnold Arboretum

An off-leash dog in the Arnold Arboretum on Wednesday attacked two of the four goats that are working to eat invasive plant species behind an electric fence near Peters Hill.

“A dog somehow got through the electric fence,” Jon Hetman, director of external relations and communications for the Arnold Arboretum, told Jamaica Plain News. “[The goats are] both fine. They have wounds. They’re not perfect. They are going to need to be looked after for those wounds.”

The two goats were picked up Wednesday by the company that rents the goats to the arboretum and have been taken to a vet for treatment. Two different goats will be brought to the arboretum Monday to replace the wounded goats, Hetman said.

It’s unknown at this time exactly how the dog managed to reach the goats. There is a possibility that the current in the electric fence wasn’t as strong as it typically is due to Wednesday’s weather conditions of overcast skies and rain, Hetman noted. However, an arboretum employee looking after the goats said it appeared the dog jumped over the fence. The arboretum intends to further secure the fence to better protect the goats.

The owner of the dog, a border collie, “did stick around, and Animal Control and the Boston Police were interviewing the person,” Hetman said.

Lisa Timberlake, spokesperson for the city’s Inspectional Services Department, confirmed to Jamaica Plain News that the dog was illegally off-leash and had been taken into custody.

The dog, which will be quarantined for 10 days at the city shelter in Roslindale, is up to date on its vaccines, according to Amanda Kennedy, Boston’s director of Animal Care and Control. Timberlake said it is “more than likely it will be released” to its owner following the 10-day hold.

The owner was cited for a first-time off-leash offense, which is a written warning. A repeat offender receives a $50 fine for a second offense, $60 for a third offense and $100 for any subsequent offense.

Timberlake said there are numerous signs in the area informing people that dogs must be leashed.

Hetman agrees. “I think the point we need to underscore is people always need to have their dogs leashed in the arboretum. It’s a state law, a city law and a park law — and people need to follow and respect the law for everyone’s safety.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include information from Boston’s Inspectional Services Department, including that the dog was taken into custody and the owner was cited. The ISD originally told Jamaica Plain News that the owner was fined. However the Mayor’s Press Office told Jamaica Plain News Thursday night that the owner was given a written warning as a first-time offender.

Goats are being used in the Arnold Arboretum to eat invasive plant species.

David Ertischek

Goats are being used in the Arnold Arboretum to eat invasive plant species.

  • paul

    The owner should be jailed. Repeat offender? He’s had more than one opportunity to be a decent citizen.

  • al

    Totally outrageous. We are constantly harassed by off-leash dogs at the Arboretum. So now, two goats are hurt, it’s going to cost the Arboretum money and the dog’s in jail for 10 days, all b/c the owner couldn’t be bothered to respect the law and put a leash on his/ her dog. P.S.- the dog doesn’t care if it’s on a leash, it just wants to be near its owner- not quarantined for 10 days!

    • Lisa

      al, I agree with you. The dog wants to be with the owner and not punished in a cage for 10 days. Very, very sad. The owner made a bad choice so punish/fine the owner not the dog.

      • Point

        Actually, the dog has to be destroyed. The dog will only want to attack animals in the future, and the owner has already demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to control the animal.

        • Lisa

          There should be no need to destroy this poor animal and what makes you an expert. Border Collies are working dogs and this dog should be surrendered to an organization who knows the breed and can work with this dog.

          • Point

            There is need to destroy this animal, unfortunately.

            You are correct, though: this dog should not have been in an urban environment to begin with.

          • paul

            there’s no need to destroy the animal. an animal can be retrained. an idiot human cannot. the human should be destroyed

          • Point

            The dog cannot be “retained;” the rest of its life, it will attempt to attack other animals.

            I’m interested to hear you take human life so lightly as to call for the death of the owner. I imagine there would be many fewer people if you were in charge. Perhaps hardly any.

          • paul

            I have a lack of regard for life for those who have a lack of regard for life.

          • Point

            So, in addition to being of low intelligence, you lack any clear ethic? Great. Keep typing.

    • Walburga

      The 10 day quarantine is to rule out the risk of rabies exposure for the goats that were bitten. It is not something done to punish the dog or owner, but to ensure the goats’ health. If the dog is still healthy at the end of the 10 days, there was no risk of rabies transmission to the goats.

  • Desiree Artu

    The owner should be fined for not having a dog on a leash, but not returning the dog to the owner it’s a little to intense of a punishment for the dog and owner, if this is their first offense

    • Point

      Not returning the dog to the owner is not a punitive measure. It’s a public health measure.

      • Desiree Artu

        you had gone a little extreme here on your previous comment first you want to eauthanize the animal and now you think returning the animal to his owner and gaving him a fined it’s not punishment enough. Do you believe in second chance or do you think we should kill anyone who does something wrong? Because let me tell you the human being does worst things than attacking a goat

        • Point

          The animal has to be destroyed. This is not for punishment, but to ensure the safety of the rest of us.

          I never said anything about punishing the owner, or leveling a fine. I generally am uninterested in punitive actions.

          Do I believe in “second chances?” Sure. I believe that if you gave this dog a second chance off-leash, it would attack another animal again. Maybe a person. What would the point of such an experiment be, except to hurt people?

          Sure, human beings have done worst [sic] things than attacking a goat. But that’s not what this article is about, is it?

  • cajl

    I don’t believe this whole endeavor was well thought out. If a dog can get at them, then a coyote could too. The only defense the goats had was the electric fence. People other than the dog owner were negligent. And why quarantine the dog if his shots are up to date?

    • pattyl

      Perhaps they need to see if the dog is dangerous and a danger to the community as the owner does not appear to keep his/her dog on a leash.

      • Point

        Um – we already know the dog is dangerous. Did you not read the article?

        • paul

          the owner is dangerous, not the dog

          • Point

            The dog is dangerous, the owner is irresponsible. He or she must be prohibited from owning animals.

    • Point

      The goats have never been attacked by coyotes in the Arboretum.

      They have been attacked and injured by an off-leash dog.

      The dog owner bears sole responsibility for his negligence. And, unfortunately, the right thing to do is to destroy the dog.

  • Pingback: Two goats injured by off-leash dog at Arnold Arboretum – The Boston Globe()

  • Hugo_JP

    The dog-owner should be quarantined for 10 days, then he/she might learn that rules and regulations are not optional but were made to be followed.

  • pattyL

    The owner should be forced to cover all the vet bills for the care of the goats. Sadly people who disobey rules that are meant to protect everyone only respond when it hurts them financially. The owner is at fault, not the dog who was just behaving like a dog. I hope the goats will be okay.

  • Sue Schortmann

    On behalf of the Goatscaping Company, we want to Thank The Arnold Arboritum for their quick phone call which allowed us to get them veterinary care more quickly, our great staff who left the job they were wrapping up, and
    Halifax Vet Service (who came at first phone call while our company veternarian was on vacation). We also want to thank the Boston Police and The Animal Control Officer. Luckily, their injuries do not appear to be life threatening and the veternarian is managing their pain. They are being cared for during their recovery at Site B. Thank you all for your well wishes!

    • Banrion

      I’m glad the goats are going to be OK. I really like goatscaping, and I would hate for something like this to jeopardize continuing programs or expansion. Thanks for the follow up here.

  • jpjunkstar

    The dog owner should also have to pay for the 10 day quarantine. At the going rate for boarding a dog that should be at least another $500 out of pocket. Not the optimal solution but money talks.

  • Marty

    True story – a friend confronted a dog owner with an off-leash dog at the corridor this summer. the man swore at her and told her that “she should be on a leash.”. The fact that my friend is a middle aged Black woman made the comment particularly offensive. What does this have to do with this particular story? In both cases, the owners have the mentality that they can do with their dog as they please even when a bystander reminds them of the law. Definitely the owner should pay the vet costs and pay a fine.

    • Aggie

      Probably the same idiot who, when I asked him why his dog was not leashed at Jamaica Pond, told me “I’ll put a leash on my dog when you put a leash on your kid.” Entitled, ignorant idiots. And this was AFTER his unleashed dog almost mowed my kid over.

      • Desiree Artu

        I took my dog once to the arboretum and a child decided to walk away from his bike to kick my little dog that happened to be on a leash. So not all dogs are bad and some children need to be control by their parents

        • Point

          Oh, so this is about you and your little dog?

  • Point

    The dog has to be destroyed. Now that it has attacked an animal, it will always want to attack animals. There is no agreement the owner can make that ensures the safety of the public, as the owner has already demonstrated an inability to responsibly control their animals.

    Sorry, dog lovers, it’s sad – but there would be a lot more dogs alive today if you had even half as much responsibility as the love you claim.

    • Lisa

      Sadly, There certainly sounds like there is something wrong with you.

      • Point

        Frankly, it sounds like there is something wrong with you.

      • Point

        And it sounds like you have never been attacked or injured by an off-leash dog.

        I hope you never are. No one wins.

        • Desiree Artu

          Oh so you have been attack by a dog before so this is about you and your fears.

          • Point

            No, this is about the fact that the dog has attacked another animal, and the continued danger it now presents.

          • paul

            police dogs attack humans and animals all the time. rural dogs chase squirrels and rabbits. thats how dogs behave.

          • Point

            Any dog will attack another animal. That’s how dogs behave. Some are trained to repress that instinct, and some are trained to enhance that instinct.

            Regardless of training, every dog represents a danger to other people, and this makes them inappropriate in an urban setting.

          • paul

            I don’t think you understand anything about a dog

          • Point

            And it’s clear that you understand nothing about dogs.

  • LucyEth

    $50.00 fine is a joke. In addition to the fine, the dog owner should pay all costs associated with the incident: quarantine costs, vet bills, transportation for the injured animals and the replacement animals, etc. Plus be required to do some sort of community service. Perhaps be forced to walk around the Arboretum and pick up dog s#%t for a couple weekends, maybe wearing a sign saying “This is what happens to schmucks like me who allow their dog to go unleashed in a public park.” What a total loser.

  • Pingback: Update: Wounded Arboretum Goats Recuperating; New Goats Brought In | Jamaica Plain News()

  • Pingback: What I’m Thankful For in Jamaica Plain | Jamaica Plain News()

  • Pingback: Top 5 Stories on 2016 | Jamaica Plain News()