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Girl, 9, sues California state fair after her pet goat was sold, barbecued


A woman has sued a California county and its district fair on behalf of her daughter whose pet goat was sold for $902, slaughtered, and barbecued.

 Jessica Long's family bought Cedar, a seven-month-old white Boer goat, in April 2022 and the animal soon formed an attachment to her nine-year-old daughter who fed and cared for it every day.

However, on June 24, 2022, the family decided to enter Cedar into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction where the animals are sold off to be used as meat.

 But, long before the auction started, the Long family changed their minds and wanted to take Cedar off the ticket. The fair denied the request and sold it.

The mom then brazenly stole the goat back before it was given to the buyer.

Subsequently, police officers travelled hundreds of miles across the county to retrieve the goat with a search warrant, before handing it to individuals who are believed to have killed Cedar and roasted him on a barbecue for their guests.

The federal civil rights lawsuit lodged by the Long family, seen by the Sacramento Bee, is now demanding actual, general and punitive damages. It wants to establish the young girl’s “free expression or viewpoint with respect to livestock in future livestock activities."

 The mother, after seeing her daughter sob by the goat's pen at the fair, decided to steal back the animal at the last minute and “deal with the consequences later."

In an email to the Shasta District Fair on June 27, Long wrote: “It was heartbreaking. The barn was mostly empty and at the last minute I decided to break the rules and take the goat that night and deal with the consequences later. 

 “I knew when I took it that my next steps were to make it right with the buyer and the fairgrounds. I will pay you back for the goat and any other expenses I caused. I would like to ask for your support in finding a solution.”

 Melanie Silva, Shasta District Fair Chief Executive Officer, responded to her email and demanded that she returned the goat immediately. 

 She wrote: “Making an exception for you will only teach our youth that they do not have to abide by the rules that are set up for all participants. Unfortunately, this is out of my hands. You will need to bring the goat back to the Shasta District Fair immediately.”

Shortly after, the organizer of the barbecue contacted her lawyers over the theft of the animal and the livestock manager of the fair, B.J. Mcfarlane, texted Long warning that law enforcements would be brought in if the goat was not returned. 

 According to the lawsuit, Mcfarlane threatened to have her charged with a felony count of grand theft if she did not return Cedar.

 Two weeks after Long's goat heist, Shasta sheriff’s Detective Jeremy Ashbee filed a search warrant affidavit in a bid to seek permission to seize the stolen animal. 

 Judge Monique McKee signed a search warrant on July 8, permitting officers to go after the stolen goat.

Cops then raided Bleating Hearts Farm and Sanctuary in Napa but the goat was not there.  

 Instead, Cedar was being kept at an unnamed Sonoma County farm that Long had emailed in a desperate bid to save the animal from slaughter.

Two officers then rushed to the other farm, despite having no search warrant for that location, nor a warrant to seize Cedar from there, according to the lawsuit.

 They took the goat and delivered it to an unnamed individual at the fair “for slaughter/destruction” despite the fact that the warrant required them to hold the goat for a court hearing to determine its lawful owner, the lawsuit alleged. 

 It's believed that Cedar was then slaughtered and eaten at the community barbecue.

 Vanessa Shakib, Jessica Long's lawyer, said: “At this time we don’t have that specific information and we can only speculate. While it hasn’t been confirmed as a factual matter, we believe the goat Cedar has been killed.  

 “Looking at this case, what we see is county and fair officials improperly used their authority and connections to transform a purely civil dispute into a sham criminal matter.”

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