Letter: LB Goats Welfare = Wildfire Prevention

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Our home is bordered by the watershed known as Aliso/Woods Canyon Park. In normal years the stockade fences are set up and we entertain The LB Goats managing the kid escapees. This year it was Camaroon, he learned to jump the electric fence and was teaching others his jump technique. Every September when the goats come, I provide water for them and trim our yard greens just to supplement their diet—they LOVE green yard clippings. In years past, the rancher also supplemented these goats with alfalfa bales but due to the cost the rancher stopped the supplements.

Because of the western drought there is little rain and very little watershed grass to graze on. Now the goats are climbing trees to nibble new growth and yard fences to reach the ivy. This year the drought impact is exceptional; the goats have bloated bellies and very shaggy coats. I’ve never seen them in such bad shape. There is so little to graze the goat keeper had to move them every day, which means he needs to set up and tear down the stockade every day. Normally we host goats for a week, they stayed three days.

The LB Goats are Laguna’s wildfire prevention specialists, the goats remove chaparral fuel by eating it. Our LB goats perform Laguna’s BEST fire prevention duty 24/7 without complaint and little notice from Laguna residents nor visitors. When you read about the nutrition requirements of healthy goats compared to conditions in Laguna’s watershed it is easy to see the shortfall in their nutrition.

From the LB City Budgets, here is the goat math: for 12-years average. The Fuel Modification contract is 2.5% of the LBFD Budget. A 20% alfalfa supplement to feed the goats is 1.7% of the Fuel Modification budget, that’s 0.043% of the LBFD Budget. If anyone is interested in higher goat math, contact me.

Our LB Goats deserve better, our city should treat them better.

Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach, Apprentice Goat Keeper

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