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Michigan residents root for pygmy goat on the run
Posted 3/15/2012 2:25 PM ET
RAVENNA, Mich. — A pygmy goat has been on the run for more than a week, teasing residents who've glimpsed him after he escaped from a livestock auction here.

"Those animals are very small and move very fast," Ravenna Auction manager Randy Lettinga said. "He squeezed under a gate, went out between a crack and was gone."

Billy, a 15-pound pygmy goat expected to sell for about $20, escaped March 6. Since then, people say they've seen him but can't catch him.

"You could get 15 or 20 feet from it and it would take off and run," said Jim Nutt, who owns Ravenna Bowl about a quarter mile from the livestock auction. The goat spent two nights bedded down under some shrubs near the bowling alley.

"It was leaving its fertilizer on the sidewalk, and I wanted to get rid of it," Nutt said. "I called Randy at the sale barn and he sent three guys up. They chased it and chased it, but they couldn't catch it."

Scott Nerli and his two children briefly got the goat back into custody at Ravenna Bowl. The children cornered it and Nerli grabbed it.

"Just basically jumped on him," Nerli said. But Billy wailed so pitifully that he said they let him go.

"I didn't want to hear it anymore, so I set him down and he took off running," Nerli says.

Now the pygmy goat that would rather run than surrender is getting lots of attention and sympathy.

He was mentioned in Seth Meyers' Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live as doing hundreds of dollars worth of damage to local businesses by spray-painting the tag Pygmy Goatz 4Lyfe in the area. Billy really is accused of butting his head through a Laundromat window when he saw his reflection and thought it was another goat; the owner told the The Muskegon (Mich.) Chronicle the window will cost $300 to replace.

In an e-mail to WZZM-TV, a man calling himself Billy's owner said he put the goat up for auction because it was too crowded on his small Fruitport, Mich., farm and "something had to go." He thinks Billy is trying to get back to his sisters.

The owner says he plans to look for the goat using raisins, Billy's favorite food, capture him and take him home.

Many are hoping Billy will avoid capture.

"Everybody is rooting for him, that he gets away and they don't catch him," Ravenna Laundromat owner Cheryl Stein says. "They don't want him to go back to the sale because they know what will happen to him."

It's possible an auction customer would buy Billy as a pet, but he also could be purchased for food.

"I wouldn't eat it, but I know some guys I work with that will eat it," Nerli said.

Posted 3/15/2012 2:25 PM ET