Superior's runaway goat gets sympathy but no pardonA UW-Superior instructor, a native of Nigeria, has recovered the goat planned as the centerpiece of his Christmas dinner.
By: By Brandon Stahl, Duluth News Tribune , Superior Telegram
The wayward goat that captured public attention in Superior before being captured himself is invited to Christmas dinner, but not as a guest.
Olawale Famule’s choice to make the goat a culinary treat, as it is in his home country of Nigeria, has created a small stir in the community.
“That poor goat made a clean getaway and then we turn around and give it back to the very person it was running away from,” said Superior resident Annie Kilpela, who said she called the Douglas County Humane Society on Wednesday to appeal on the goat’s behalf.
Famule, who has taught art and art history for the past four years at the University of Wisconsin Superior, bought the goat for $50 over the weekend after finding it for sale on Craigslist. He said he ate goat with other native Africans while studying in Arizona, and was looking forward to inviting friends over for a similar feast for the first time on Christmas.
“In Nigeria, goat is a luxury,” he said.
But that almost didn’t happen. The day after bringing it home and tying it to a secured table in his garage, Famule said the goat pulled the table leg away and got loose. It wasn’t until Famule watched the news the next day that he saw what happened to his goat: It had been captured by Superior Animal Control and employees at Dan’s Feed Bin, who named the animal “Gertrude.”
Since then, some community members in Superior saw news accounts of Famule’s plans for the goat and were unhappy with that outcome.
Kilpela notes that while it’s common to eat goats in other countries, it isn’t in the U.S., comparing it to the taboo of eating cats or dogs.
“In our country, I have not seen people kill and eat goats. … If he wants to eat a goat, he should have it shipped from a specialty catalog,” she said.
Erica Zielinski, who works at the Superior Waste Water Treatment Plant where the goat was eventually captured, said she sees nothing wrong with Famule wanting to eat the goat, but wishes the animal had a different fate.
“It’s just heart-wrenching … that the poor guy got away, and he got sent right back to his death,” she said. “Seeing how happy the owner was to get him back, though, makes you think that his heritage means a great deal to him, and no one has the right to look down on him for that.”
Employees at the Douglas County Humane Society said they got numerous calls from people concerned about the goat, but they weren’t sure what could be done about it.
Eating goat for the holidays in other countries is no different than Americans having a chicken or turkey for Christmas, said Chip Beal, the UWS diversity coordinator.
“It’s probably healthier than what you can buy at the grocery store,” Beal said.
Famule said the goat is now at a Twin Cities meat processor.
Legally, there’s nothing that can be done to stop that, city of Superior Attorney Frog Prell said.
“If the animal is processed consistent with legal rules and regulations, that would be within [Famule’s] rights,” he said.
But Prell said Famule probably violated two ordinances: allowing an animal to roam free in the city, and keeping a goat in city limits.
Famule said he didn’t know about the laws and has heard no complaints about his plans to share the goat with 10 to 12 people at his home.
“It’s just like having a having a Christmas turkey,” he said.