Baby pygmy goat stolen from Arizona State Fair petting zoo
By TERRY TANG
PHOENIX (AP) - Officials at the Arizona State Fair said Thursday that a baby pygmy goat was taken from a petting zoo, leaving a mother crying for her kid.
GusGus went missing Wednesday sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and security was immediately notified, petting zoo manager Emilie Owen said. The miniature goat weighs less than 5 pounds and can easily fit under a jacket or in a purse. He was in a separate pen away from the other animals, Owen said.
"In over 30 years that we've been doing this, I have never had anything like this happen," Owen said. "It's very heartbreaking for us and mama. She wants her baby back."
Owen said GusGus' mother, Custard, is aware that he is gone.
"She's looking in all the pens. She's looking at us and she cries," Owen said.
Fair Livestock Director Karen Searle said there are employees in the petting zoo at all times. So, someone would have noticed if GusGus had tried to run off. Because he is tame and accustomed to humans, he would not have cried out if someone picked him up.
"This was definitely an intentional theft. There's no way it was an accident," Searle said.
According to Owen, the baby goat needs his mother's milk to survive. GusGus was born last month and hasn't had all his shots yet.
The makeshift barn that houses the petting zoo has no surveillance cameras. But the fair has received calls from potential witnesses and are passing credible tips to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Searle said. They just want GusGus back and are not interested in prosecution, she added.
"We just want him returned - no questions asked," Searle said. "The person who has him can drop him off at the 17th Street and McDowell gate and that's it. We'll let everything go. We just want him back."
The alleged kidnapping has sparked disbelief from people on social media as well as the hashtag, #FindGusGus.
GusGus and Custard are part of a menagerie of animals provided by the Oregon-based Great American Animal Entertainment Company, which brings petting zoos to events around the country. Owen said it saddens her that now they have to change security around the petting zoo.
"Probably we'll have someone stationed at the exit gate from now on, checking people to make sure nobody is leaving that isn't supposed to be," Owen said.
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