A California neighborhood was treated to an unusual lockdown protest Tuesday evening when around 200 goats broke through a fence and ran shoulder to shoulder through the streets.
The moment was captured on video and shared on social media by 23-year-old Zach Roelands, who returned to his San Jose home around 5 p.m. to find the goats on the loose, as USA TODAY reported.
“This is the craziest thing to happen all quarantine,” Roelands tweeted.
While goats may not be very good at social distancing, they are very helpful at combating another potential crisis—California wildfires. Their ability to munch on flammable non-native grasses while navigating steep hillsides has made them a valuable (and adorable) part of fire-prevention efforts across the state.
That is the reason the goats were in the neighborhood to begin with, Zach’s father Terry Roelands told NBC Bay Area. The hill behind the Roelands’ home caught fire around 15 years ago, so goats have since come to eat the brush a few times a year. This time, one of the goats went to eat a flower on the other side of the fence and tapped an electric fence, which then broke the boards on the fence, allowing the goats to escape.
“All of a sudden they get onto our driveway and it was very exciting but I was a little bit nervous because the garage was open and I thought they might get into the garage,” neighbor Amit Patel told NBC Bay Area.
But the goats were mostly interested in eating the plants, and then doing their business, in neighbors’ front yards, Zach Roelands told USA TODAY. They were not interested in bothering people.
“The goats are actually pretty scared of humans, it seemed like,” he said.
The whole thing was over fairly quickly. Terry Roelands told NBC Bay Area that a rancher wrangled the goats back to the hillside in about five minutes. But people had to spend the next hour cleaning up their droppings, Zach Roelands told The Guardian.
However, he said people were mostly diverted by the goats.
“The goats have come for the past 12 years but this was the most entertaining they’ve been,” he told The Guardian.
The San Jose goats aren’t the only herd of renegade goats to gain fame during the coronavirus lockdown. A seaside town in Wales has been taken over by a herd of around 122 Kashmiri goats that wandered down from the cliffs into the empty streets in March.
“They are curious, goats are, and I think they are wondering what’s going on like everybody else,” Llandudno town councilor Carol Marubbi told BBC News.
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