A 25-acre parcel of thick brush and berry vines in San Rafael has become a haven for homeless campers and a target for brush fires ignited by the dispossessed dwellers. In order to clear out the land, a creative solution of using 1,000 goats is being employed at a cost of $1,000 per day.
The owner of the property and real estate tycoon Fred Grange says that the grass and brush grow very high and provide a clandestine temporary living area for many homeless people. “You and I can’t even see the bottom of it. It’s pretty easy to hide. So, unless someone’s out patrolling, you’re not gonna see who’s out there,” added San Rafael Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Rowan.
Unfortunately, carelessness has precipitated some fires on the undeveloped land and is a potential safety hazard for the inhabitants, as well as those who live nearby. According to CBS, environmental issues have prevented the fire department from using heavy equipment to trim back the brush and high grass.
The Fire Department decided to use goats to mow the grass and eliminate the hiding places to discourage homeless people from camping out on the property. All day long, the goats chomp away at what seemed to be an impenetrable wall. CBS reported that the goats will eat just about anything, including thick grass, thorny vines, and the trash. Happily, the project is working great and within two days, the goats have put a substantial dent in the overgrowth.
“We’ve come up with the goat eradication plan,” property owner Fred Grange said.
On top of that, the goats have become a tourist attraction for adults and children. “They are very curious creatures. I’ve worked with sheep, I’ve worked with cattle, and what I realized is that with goats they are much more personable,” claims Sandra G. Solaiman, Affiliate Professor of Animal Nutrition at Auburn University. “They can be pets, they are curious. That’s why they get into everything.”