Prized herd vanishes, then reappears days later—where did they go?
SPRING CITY—When a prized herd of 21 well-trained goats vanished from a Spring City homestead, the owners sprang into panic mode.
These weren’t just any goats. Teenager Paige Zanocco had saved every red cent she’d ever earned since the age of 8 years old to make a business out of raising goats—something her family was really into. And since falling in love with 4H, Paige’s mind was set on one thing: her goats and her business.
But then they were gone. Paige’s grandmother, Karyl Zanocco, grew concerned on Sunday, Oct. 17, after looking out the kitchen window to the area the goats usually range round their house, which is situated near the mouth of the Spring City Canyon. With 21 goats that rarely strayed far from the house, it was strange to not see a single one of them along that edge line of their property.
The family immediately began to scour all 100 acres of their property for the herd, then neighboring properties, but to no avail.
The goats had favorite feeding spots and shade spots that were well known to the family, but the family also knew the goats were trained to automatically load into a trailer when one pulled up in front of the house. They worried that a trailer passing by on the Spring City Canyon Road had done just that and taken the animals.
Paige and her entire family mourned. Not only was their precious goat herd gone, but the disappearance came on the heels of another big loss. Eight months earlier, a cougar had killed Paige’s prized doe and taken off with two of her babies. A trapper came out from USDA and said Paige would get a refund, which she still hasn’t received. Eventually, a neighbor shot and killed the cougar when the opportunity arose.
But losing an entire herd, carefully bred over years of effort, was a crushing blow.
“I just feel sucker punched, kicked,” Karyl told the Messenger after the animals vanished. “I hurt for my granddaughter to lose her animals like this.”
But not all stories have a sad ending, even if you don’t understand the story. Nearly a week later, a family friend discovered the herd miles up the canyon—a place none of the goats had ever gone before. One was still missing, but 20 of the prized animals were safely returned.
“We don’t understand it,” Karyl says. “They would never go there. They’re very well trained, but it’s all just speculation.”
The return of most of the herd has gone a long way to heal the pain of loss Paige had felt, Karyl says, even if the family doesn’t understand the how and why of the herd’s disappearance.