A woman has filed a lawsuit against a California county and its district fair on behalf of her daughter, whose pet goat was sold for $902 and then slaughtered and barbecued.
Jessica Long’s family purchased Cedar, a seven-month-old white Boer goat, in April 2022, and the animal quickly developed a bond with her nine-year-old daughter, who fed and cared for it every day.
On June 24, 2022, however, the family decided to enter Cedar into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction, where the animals are sold for meat.
Long before the auction began, however, the Long family changed their minds and requested that Cedar be removed from the ticket. The request was denied, and the fair was sold.
The mom then brazenly stole the goat back before it was given to the buyer.
Subsequently, police officers travelled hundreds of miles across the county to retrieve the goat with a search warrant, before handing it to individuals who are believed to have killed Cedar and roasted him on a barbecue for their guests.
According to the Sacramento Bee, the Long family’s federal civil rights lawsuit now seeks actual, general, and punitive damages. It wishes to establish the young girl’s “free expression or viewpoint on livestock in future livestock activities.””
After seeing her daughter sobbing by the goat’s pen at the fair, the mother decided to steal the animal at the last minute and “deal with the consequences later.””
On June 27, Long wrote in an email to the Shasta District Fair, “It was heartbreaking.”
The barn was mostly empty, so I decided at the last minute to break the rules and take the goat that night, dealing with the consequences later.
“I knew when I took it that my next steps were to make it right with the buyer and the fairgrounds. I will pay you back for the goat and any other expenses I caused. I would like to ask for your support in finding a solution.”
Melanie Silva, Shasta District Fair Chief Executive Officer, responded to her email and demanded that she returned the goat immediately.
She wrote: “Making an exception for you will only teach our youth that they do not have to abide by the rules that are set up for all participants. Unfortunately, this is out of my hands. You will need to bring the goat back to the Shasta District Fair immediately.”
Shortly after, the organizer of the barbecue contacted her lawyers about the goat’s theft, and the fair’s livestock manager, B.J. Mcfarlane, texted Long, warning that law enforcement would be called if the goat was not returned.
According to the lawsuit, Mcfarlane threatened to charge her with grand theft if she did not return Cedar.
Two weeks after Long’s goat robbery, Shasta County Sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Ashbee filed a search warrant affidavit in an attempt to seize the stolen animal.
Judge Monique McKee signed a search warrant on July 8, permitting officers to go after the stolen goat.
Cops then raided Bleating Hearts Farm and Sanctuary in Napa but the goat was not there.
Instead, Cedar was being kept at an unnamed Sonoma County farm that Long had emailed in a desperate bid to save the animal from slaughter.
According to the lawsuit, two officers then rushed to the other farm despite having no search warrant for that location or a warrant to seize Cedar from there.
The lawsuit claimed that they took the goat and delivered it to an unnamed individual at the fair “for slaughter/destruction,” despite the fact that the warrant required them to hold the goat for a court hearing to determine its rightful owner.
It’s believed that Cedar was then slaughtered and eaten at the community barbecue.
Vanessa Shakib, Jessica Long’s lawyer, said: “At this time we don’t have that specific information and we can only speculate. While it hasn’t been confirmed as a factual matter, we believe the goat Cedar has been killed.
“Looking at this case, what we see is county and fair officials improperly used their authority and connections to transform a purely civil dispute into a sham criminal matter.”