A herd of goats was attacked in Gray’s Hill over the weekend and officials say they think dogs may be responsible.
Less than half survived, and now one woman is doing everything she can to keep them alive.
“Coyotes, coyotes do things to eat. They don’t just go to kill. They would go kill, take some and leave,” said Laura Sterling. “This was literally, something massacred all of the big ones, so it had to be dogs.”
Sterling runs a nonprofit animal sanctuary in Bluffton called Laura’s Little Critter Barn.
Beaufort County Animal Services responded to the man’s home when he found out what had happened on Monday morning.
He surrendered the animals to the county so they could be properly treated. The animal services director, Tallulah Trice, called Sterling for help.
“‘She goes, ‘Oh my God,’ I, I almost didn’t even understand her, and she said, ‘There’s 19 in a herd, and the whole herd was attacked,'” Sterling recalled.
Nineteen goats were mauled, only two adults and 8 babies survived. One of the babies died in transport to Coastal Vet Clinic.
“We went straight to the vet’s office because we had all of the survivors and they needed to be checked,” Sterling said, “Dr. Parker is amazing.”
After the vet, eight went home with Sterling.
“You can see in the injuries on her neck,” Sterling showed News 3 one of the goats. “That’s what happens, they go for the neck to take them down.”
Sterling’s biggest concern is the trauma they endured. She and her daughter brought the two weakest babies in to sleep in the bed with them Monday night. She named them Mocha and Coco, just in case they didn’t survive, they would have names, she said.
Mocha hasn’t stood up on her own since she was rescued.
“They gotta have that touch. They gotta be reminded that they want to be alive, so you have to give them a reason, or they get depressed. I mean animals can get depressed, and then they won’t live,” Sterling said.
She adds that there’s a lesson that can be learned here.
“If you’ve got farm animals out in rural areas… you’ve got to have something out there protecting them,” Sterling said. “You can’t leave them without donkeys in there or there are certain dog breeds that protect herds like this… if a donkey or animal like that would have been out there, then maybe the death toll would’ve been lower.”
“I’m not blaming that farmer, he was heartbroken, but if anybody could take a lesson from it, that would be the lesson.”
Sterling, who is a tax accountant, said it is not the best time to be taking on such a responsibility, but that she will take care of any animal that needs her. If you’d like to help with their care you can donate to the GoFundMe page here. You can also volunteer.
Sterling also mentioned the goats are taking well to heat. She currently has one shop space heater that is safe to use in the hay.