Two Goats Wounded in Attack by Unleashed Dog in Arnold Arboretum

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Two goats were injured in an attack at the Arnold Arboretum Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016.

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.

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