The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 29, 2011

Girls get caught for late-night goat walk

Young culprits found with animal from Sibley Park zoo

MANKATO — A couple of young rustlers attempted to use their imagination to escape the long arm of the law Saturday, but after about an hour of story telling they eventually learned they’d made a baaaaad decision.

A Mankato resident called 911 at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday to report two very young girls, who turned out to be under the age of 10, were walking along Carney Avenue north of Riverfront Drive. They were in their pajamas and had a goat with them, the caller said.

When an officer arrived, the girls were walking south and had crossed Riverfront Drive.

They told the officer the goat belonged to them and they were just taking the animal for a late-night walk.

As the kid questioning continued, the girls kept stretching their tale.

The goat lives in their bedroom closet, they said. Mom bought it a couple weeks ago, but dad didn’t know about it. So they had to keep the goat thing quiet to keep dad from suspecting anything.

They also told the officer they’d been sneaking their pet out regularly for nightly walks.

When officers couldn’t find anyone in the area who knew anything about the girls or the goat, one of the officers told them it was time to talk to their parents. The girls didn’t know their address, so the officer had to leave his squad car behind to walk them and the goat home, said Cmdr. Dan Schisel of the Mankato Department of Public Safety.

As expected, the officer found out the story wasn’t true. He eventually learned the girls had been at a birthday party at Sibley Park’s zoo earlier Saturday. Sometime between then and late Saturday night they’d come up with their plot to return to the park and take one of the goats home.

Another officer had already been asked to check the zoo to see if any goats were missing, but wasn’t sure how many were supposed to be there.

The girls’ parents had no idea what they had been up to, Schisel said.

“They basically snuck out of the house and went down to Sibley Park,” he said. “I don’t know how they came up with the idea.”

He’s also not sure how they got the goat out.

The story might be funny when it’s shared with the girls’ boyfriends years from now, but there is a side to it that could have become serious, Schisel said. Officers also learned that the parents had discovered the girls were missing and were out looking for them, but hadn’t called police themselves.

Anyone in a similar situation should call 911 immediately.

“I’m sure they were very shocked,” he said. “But considering the time of day and the fact that they’re not there, you’re going to want as many resources as you can get so you can find them as quickly as possible.”

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