Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Globe Scapegoat

"A Groton teenager has been arrested and charged with killing a baby goat on June 21, according to Ashburnham police. Dominick Tidd, 18, will be arraigned in Winchendon District Court Monday on charges of cruelty to animals, larceny under $250, and destruction of property, police said. Ashburnham police said a joint investigation with the Groton Police Department led to the arrest, and Tidd is expected to face additional charges for other crimes that occurred in Groton. The three-month-old goat was discovered missing from a residence in Ashburnham in the neighborhood near Ashby Road and Lake Winnekeag on Friday morning, police said. The goat, a Nigerian Dwarf named Marshmallow, was later found with her throat slit on a trail about 100 yards away from her pen. A hole had been cut in the fence around her enclosure, according to Ashburnham Police Detective Rob Siano. Police said in a Facebook post that the goat was intentionally led into the woods and up the trail, though Siano said officials did not know if that was true. “The owner did say that that goat in particular was extremely friendly,” he said. “It was like a puppy. It would follow you around.” Officers arrested the suspect early on Sunday evening after receiving a tip through Facebook. Pat Stewart of Hames and Axle Farm — the place where the goat grew up before she was sold about six weeks ago — said Marshmallow had most recently belonged to a little girl who loved her. The goat was bottle-fed, so she was very comfortable with humans. “That baby goat didn’t know that people could be cruel,” Stewart said. Stewart said the family who owned the goat is reeling from the loss. “The mom was really shaken up,” she said. “This [goat] had become the little girl’s pet. She was very friendly and a great playmate for the little girl.” Stewart said the senseless killing could only have been done by a “sick person.” Rob Halpin, a spokesman for the MSPCA-Angell, described the incident as “tragic.” “The killing of this goat is as senseless as it is tragic, and made all the more distressing after learning that Marshmallow was a treasured friend to a little girl,” he said in a statement. “We extend our thanks to the Ashburnham and Groton Police Depts. for vigorously investigating the case—and may the full weight of Massachusetts’ felony animal cruelty statute be applied to the individual responsible for Marshmallow’s death.”

In response, the Legislature toughened animal welfare provisions.