Around 9:30 PM on August 9, 2018, 75 goats and sheep escaped from a livestock auction house in Hackettstown, New Jersey. Officials suspect the animals escaped through an unsecured gate. And the manager of the auction house suspects the escapees had help.
Was it PETA?
No, it wasn’t PETA, Voices for Animals, or any other pro-animal activist group. Officials believe that the one who led the sheep and goats to freedom wasn’t even human. Who was it, then?
Fingers are pointing toward Fred. Fred is a rogue goat who escaped from that same auction house a little more than a year earlier. People tried to catch him, but Fred just laughed and took to the woods. And he’s been there ever since. People in the area do report Fred sightings from time to time. But, just like ghosts or Bigfoot, the truth may be out there, but proof always slips through their fingers.
According to the New York Post, local police received a report of a Fred sighting in the vicinity of the auction house just before the jailbreak. And a few hours after the escape, Fred was identified back at the scene, trying, once again, to free the sheep and goats that auction house employees had rounded up and brought back. Witnesses say they saw Fred headbutting the gate that held the animals in, apparently attempting to free them once again.
Is it Part of an Animal Rebellion?
Less than a week earlier, more than one hundred goats escaped from… somewhere in Boise, Idaho. “Nobody has a clue where they came from,” said reporter Joe Parris. But the goats went on a rampage, eating lawns, shrubs, plants — pretty much every green thing in sight, before being captured. Mostly. Idaho is clean on the other side of the country from New Jersey, so Fred is off the hook for that one. But could these escapes be part of something bigger?
News from the Boise escape:
Takin care of business
In May 2018, an 800-pound takin broke out of its enclosure at a New Jersey zoo. A takin is an enormous — and grumpy — relative of the gnu, that is native to the Himalayas. Said takin was scheduled to have its hooves trimmed and had second thoughts about the manicure. It charged at reinforced doors a number of times before breaking through, leaving injured veterinary and zoo staff in its wake.
Where does an 8,400-pound elephant sit?
A bit earlier, in the summer of 2017, Kelly, an 8,400-pound elephant escaped from a circus in Wisconsin. Kelly was aided and abetted by another elephant, Isla, who released the bolts holding the hinge that kept the door of their pen closed.
A Husband and Wife Act
Evelyn and Jim, a pair of mountain gorillas at the Los Angeles Zoo, apparently appreciated being out and about more than once. Their escape methods included climbing vines and escaping over the fence, and also taking a running jump over the wall of their enclosure.
Passing On His Knowledge to Future Generations
An orangutan named Ken Allen was nicknamed “Hairy Houdini” by San Diego Zoo staff, due to his many daring escapes. In addition to busting himself out of his own enclosure, he reportedly taught another orangutan to use a branch as a sort of crowbar to release himself on his own recognizance.
And, terrifyingly, a female Egyptian Cobra once staged a jailbreak from the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles. She didn’t go far, though. Zoo personnel found her hiding among some pipes near the reptile enclosure and lured her back with rodent-scented wood chips. We say she should have held out for a book deal.
Fred the Goat remains at large. And who knows where he’ll turn up next? Perhaps to liberate a few cows on their way to becoming hamburger? Or maybe he’ll get ambitious and try to stage a breakout at the dog pound. Either way, humans beware — this animal avenger is out there. He may have disappeared into the sunset for now, but we’re pretty confident he’ll be baaaaaack.