St. Paul charter school wants to boost security after stolen goat found dead
Over $13,000 has been raised to help protect farm animals at a St. Paul charter school after one of its goats was kidnapped and killed last week.
Police say they found remains of a goat on the 300 block of Lafond Avenue last Friday. They say the remains were in a plastic storage box.
“We believe the goat remains discovered are that of the missing goat because a green collar was found with the remains and a green collar was associated with the Great River School’s goat,” said a St. Paul Police spokesperson.
Everyday 10th-grade student Honesty Oliver tends to the animals on the educational micro-farm at Great River School in St. Paul. There’s a special bond with each livestock, in particular the 2-year-old goat named Hazelnut, who was stolen last week.
“I was at first very angry because I was like, who would take this goat and why,” said Oliver. “I was also very sad because I liked Hazel.”
Oliver said there are two other goats at the school; one of them, named Magnolia, was Hazel’s sister.
“Magnolia and Hazel have not been separated, ever. So, I was mostly just thinking about how we were going to help her cope with that.” Oliver explained.
Since the kidnapping, Magnolia and another goat have been moved to a different property for safety.
School officials report seeing some people near the pen where the goat was kept on the night of June 26. The next day, staff discovered Hazel was missing. Staff believes the 120-pound goat may have been lifted up over the fence when it was taken.
A few days later, about 2.5 miles from the school, police found remains they believe to be Hazel in a plastic storage box. So far, the police have not arrested anyone. School officials say security footage was not able to capture how Hazel was taken because the location was not in the line of sight with the camera.
“She was the friendliest goat I’ve actually ever spent time with,” said Lisa Holt, the school’s animal program lead. “So, what I’m hearing is just that there is this sense of shock, you know, this sense of violation, the sense of loss and like, just how could this happen?”
Holt said the tragedy robbed students of their learning space — a space “where kids can really fully be kids.” Moving forward, the school plans to boost security and potentially get a new goat using the thousands of dollars that were raised in a GoFundMe.
“Maybe an additional camera or potentially improving the fence itself to make it harder for someone to get to or to harm our animals,” said David Nunez, the Head of School.
Meanwhile, through heartbreak, the urban farm is still teaching students a valuable lesson on how to grieve.
“I’m getting better at like coping with it and not making it take all of my emotions,” Oliver said.