LITHIA, HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY FL - 3 PIT BULLS ENTERED THE PEN OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS' CHAMPION GOATS KILLING FIVE AND INJURING A SIXTH - THEN 2 DAYS LATER THEY ATTACKED ANOTHER NEIGHBOR'S GOAT
LITHIA (FOX 13) - A Hillsborough County family is hoping to find the owner of the dogs that slaughtered five of their goats, and injured a sixth goat, last week.
A row of tree stumps painted with the names of the deceased goats is now all that fills their pen. Wendi Munson said her daughter Lauren, 15, kept her 1-year-old goat "Luna" inside a gated pen her family built at a friend's home in Lithia.
"Lauren got Luna in 2016. She has a friend who is in FFA and shows goats at the fair, so she was really interested in that," said Munson.
Lauren joined the Future Farmers of America (FFA) at her high school, and her family supported her by purchasing Luna for her in Georgia. Lauren dedicated sleepless nights to bottle-feeding the young goat. Over the course of a year, she raised Luna to be a champion. At the state fair last year, Luna took home four blue ribbons and cash prizes.
"That's money that Lauren was putting towards college, so she was not only a pet and a show goat, but she was also an investment," explained Munson.
Munson got a devastating call in the early morning hours last Wednesday from the owner of the home where Luna lived.
"She said something has gotten into the pen, and they have killed all of the goats," said Munson. "When we got to Luna, she was still breathing, so I put her in the back of my car and called every emergency vet possible. I was calling friends in the middle of the night asking, 'Who do you know that can come and check on these goats?'"
All five of the goats had severe bites to their necks and died from their injuries. The homeowner said she saw three dogs running out of a hole they likely dug at the bottom of the pen's gate. The exact breed of the dogs was not clear.
The family filed a report with Hillsborough County Animal Control.
By Friday, the dogs had attacked again. A neighbor's goat was injured from dog bites, but it survived. One of the dogs was captured shortly after the attack.
According to an Animal Control officer, the remaining two dogs were caught while roaming a nearby street on Monday afternoon.
None of the dogs were microchipped. Animal Control officials said they left a note on the door of the suspected owner of the dogs, who was out of town on Monday.
The owner has three days to claim the dogs. It's unclear if charges or fines could follow.
Munson said her family drove up to Georgia on Sunday to buy four new baby goats for Lauren, but they cannot replace Luna. And since the goats are very young, they will not be big enough to show during the upcoming Florida State Fair in February.
"It's going to be another blow when state fair rolls around, and [Luna] is not there," said Munson.
She said Lauren is hoping to raise money to build a safer goat pen for her new baby goats to live in once they're old enough to be outside to avoid another devastating attack.