Officers round up a ‘friendly’ herd of wandering goats in the hills

Palo Alto Animal Control officer William Warrior, left, and an unidentified Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy shake hand after rounding up a herd of goats in Los Altos Hills. Photo from Palo Alto Animal Control's Facebook page.

Eighty rent-a-goats embarked on a nighttime adventure in Los Altos Hills but were guided back home by Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies and Palo Alto Animal Control.

A resident near La Rena Lane and Dianne Drive in Los Altos Hills had been out jogging Thursday (April 4) night when they returned to their property and found they had been followed home by a herd of goats.

“These guys are very friendly and seem to want to follow anyone,” said animal control Officer William Warrior, who received a call from the resident around 9:15 p.m.

A new homeowner up the hill on O’Keefe Lane had rented the goats from Green Goat Landscapers for some eco-friendly lawn cleanup, but their portable electric fence had parted and given the goats an opportunity to explore.

“They love to wander and when they find an opening they go for it,” Warrior said.

Animal control officers called the sheriff’s office for help, and four deputies responded to the scene, along with a cattle dog and border collie from the landscaping company.

The scene was wrapped up just before midnight. Deputy Michael Low said none of the goats or deputies were injured, and their great escape had a happy ending.

“If I were a goat, I would be a little scared,” Low said, “But for the most part…they were goats being goats and they all kind of followed each other and got back home.”

Warrior has worked for Palo Alto Animal Services, now called Animal Control, for 40 years, and Thursday night was only the second time he had encountered such a large herd.

In 2008, Warrior said he worked a similar call when 200 goats got out of a yard in Los Altos Hills and wound up chowing down on a neighbor’s ornamental shrubs.

“They had gone through the breach and were doing what they were supposed to do, but at the wrong place,” Warrior said.

In that case, Warrior was trying to fix the electric fence when he started feeling a stabbing pain. He looked down and noticed he was standing on a yellow jacket nest.

“I wouldn’t say it’s all that strange, I guess, depending on where you live, but it was fun,” Warrior said. “It was one of the more fun calls to work.”

From staff and wire reports