Letter: Stop Feeding the Goats at Irwin Park

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Having walked our dogs in Irwin for a number of years it’s always a delight to see the annual return of the goats. These natural caretakers of the grounds who carry out a very useful task of controlling invasive ground cover are normally hard at work a task that they seem to enjoy. Posted on the side the fence meant to contain them are signs with interesting goat facts as well as clearly marked signs that say please do not feed or pet the goats.

As we neared the end of the pen we came upon a family that had pulled a fair amount of branches and weeds from the trail and were feeding the goats while one of the children petted them. We stopped and I asked them not to do so as they were workers meant to do a job and for the enjoyment of all. I explained that if they were hand fed they would come to rely upon hand feeding and not to accomplish the given task. I mentioned that while they thought it cute not everyone may have the same kind intentions. I was met with blank stares. We moved on and passed a Dad with two young children each with branches in hand running back to feed the goats they had just passed.

There are reasons we are asked not to hand feed the goats and to let them do their jobs and I feel that families should respect those wishes. If children are so enamored with the goats after seeing them at Irwin there are petting farms within the area where they can go, learn more about them and safely spend up and close time with them. Please leave our working goats to their work.

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