PALMYRA – Karen Bertocchi is desperate to rescue her goat Jerry.
Bertocchi’s goat slipped its tether several weeks ago and began roaming the woods and fields that border Interstate 95 in Palmyra.
“We’ve been looking for her,” Bertocchi said Friday. “We’ve got friends helping us. But the last time we saw her was in hunting season.”
The goat has been sighted several times by northbound travelers around Mile Marker 146 in Palmyra. The animal resembles a small deer.
Many people think they have spotted a deer until they take a closer look. Animal control officers from Palmyra and Pittsfield, as well as state and local police, have been to the site repeatedly trying to catch the animal after it has been spotted. The officers fear the goat may cause an accident or starve to death when winter weather prevents it from grazing.
Several officers and animal lovers have left hay and grain near the site, hoping to lure the animal out of the woods and to provide easy access to food.
One of those officers is Trooper Tammy Doyle, an animal lover who has searched for the goat in her off-duty hours.
Doyle rented a tranquilizer gun in an attempt to rescue the goat. The goat, however, wasn’t spotted when Doyle had the gun.
Bertocchi calls Doyle an angel for expending effort and expense in trying to save the small goat from certain death if she is not captured soon.
“She’s a sweet, sweet, sweet animal,” Bertocchi said. “I don’t want to have to shoot her, but she’s so skittish. You can’t get near her. And I don’t want her to starve to death or cause an accident.”
Bertocchi said she had two goats at her property on the Dogtown Road in Palmyra, which she shares with her boyfriend, John Haskell of Pittsfield. She doesn’t know what happened to the other goat, but assumes it may have been shot during hunting season.
Animal control officers on Monday issued a written warning to Haskell for failure to secure the animal and ordering him to capture it within 12 hours.
“We were told the only way to ever catch her was to shoot her,” an emotional Bertocchi said. “I don’t want to do that. The trooper can have her, if she can catch her. I just want her to be safe and have a good home.”
On Friday, Bertocchi was pinning her hopes on a herding dog that someone from Rumford reportedly was bringing to Palmyra to help rescue the goat.
“I’m so glad there are so many animal lovers that want to help,” the woman said.
“I hope they will consider sending a small donation to help the trooper with her expenses. I’m on a limited income, and we’re going to be fined soon if we can’t catch [the goat].”
“They don’t have to worry about being summoned [to court] as long as they are actively looking,” Pittsfield ACO Rick Curtis said. Curtis issued the warning to Haskell on behalf of Palmyra ACO Fred Campbell.
“When they stop looking, that’s another story,” said Curtis.
Doyle could not be reached Friday to determine if she plans to continue her efforts to tranquilize the animal to capture it. State and local police had no new reported sightings of the goat as of Friday afternoon.