In a shady and rustic corner of Elysian Heights, a small corral and barn next to Elysian Park serve as home to a goat named Caprice and her barn mates, a pair of horses named Meiko and Panda. Caprice’s main job is to graze on the hilltop property of her owner, Toby Atwater, who purchased the goat about a year ago to help control weeds and brush. “When she was a kid last spring\summer, I would take her out occasionally in the park on leash to graze and have her get used to the dogs, people, children,” said Atwater via email. “The dogs were much more curious than she was. She would hide under my legs, or climb a tree if things got out of hand.” But earlier this month, the tranquility of the hilltop barnyard was shattered when a large bulldog roamed into the corral from the park and ripped off Caprice’s ears. Atwater provided details about what happened:
Our goat “Caprice” was attacked by an off-leash black bull-dog named “Maya” in the horse corral just after sunset on rainy Saturday March 1st. BOTH of her ears were torn off and she suffered several bite punctures on her face. Her barn companions, the horses “Meiko and Panda” had poor footing due to the rain and were unable to land a kick on the attacking dog. A neighbor heard the goat screams and crawled through the mud to separate the bulldog’s jaws from the goat with the use of a large stick. The owner, after repeatedly and unsuccessfully calling his dog’s name from a distance, left the scene.
Atwater’s housemate, an emergency room tech, irrigated, disinfected and stitched Caprice up and bandaged her wounds. A veterinarian prescribed a round of daily antibiotic injections for the pain and swelling. “She can’t hear soft sounds, and shes unsure on where loud sounds are coming from so shes a little jumpy,” he said.
Not only was Atwater disturbed by the attack, he was upset that the dog’s owner had not taken responsibility for his animal. “I have no resentment towards the dog, more the owner for not keeping her under better control and for not coming back up to check on things,” Atwater said. “And it’s a lot of work wrestling a sick goat, catching her, changing bandages, draining\cleaning the wounds and avoiding infection. No easy task!”
On Monday, however, the owner of the dog came forward and told Atwater he was going to take responsibility for his dog. “I am glad he finally came around,” he said.
Caprice, meanwhile, continues to recover, and, thanks to the March downpour, has some new green grass to munch on.