Grazing Hell: 200 escaped goats hoofed through the California neighborhood of San Jose

Nature heals, and in some parts of Northern California, nature is outrageous.

About 200 goats broke a fence in San Jose and briefly stormed the streets of a residential neighborhood on Tuesday evening, clearly in violation of social distancing guidelines and government emergency shelter.

The goats had been stopping by to feed through the vegetation on a neighborhood hill for the past 12 years, said 23-year-old Zach Roelands, a neighborhood resident who videotaped the madness.

They jumped on his neighbor’s fence, creating a hole. “The next thing you know is that they are in the front yard eating everything in sight,” said Roelands.

In the video, some goats paused to pull plants and flowers from nearby farms before following the rest of the herd, much to the chagrin of the residents. The neighbors initially panicked and tried to keep the goats away from their landscaping, but then were mostly amused, Roelands said. “The goats have been here for 12 years, but that was the most fun thing they have ever seen,” he said.

The goats were rounded up and under control in minutes, but “everyone had to spend the next hour picking up their poop,” said Roelands.

Goats have long been used as environmentally friendly landscapers in the west, especially when it comes to fighting forest fires. They chew their way through brushes, vegetation, and weeds, eating up potential flame fodder, and causing natural fuel breakages.

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