Hackettstown, New Jersey was the site of an animal escape attempt on Wednesday, according to the New York Post. The animals escaped through an unsecured gate at the Hackettstown Livestock Auction around 9:30 p.m.
It took police and locals about an hour to herd the 50-60 animals back to their pens. At the time, about 10 to 20 of the animals were believed to still be on the lam.
According to an earlier report from the New York Post, it wasn’t initially clear how the gate had gotten open in the first place.
Suspicion has now fallen on Fred, a goat that escaped the same auction house one year ago. According to the New York Post, locals told police Fred had been spotted in the area hours before the escape.
Auction house manager Bouwe Postma noticed Fred around the animal pen on Thursday, the day after the escape. He was head-butting the gate in what appeared to be another attempt to free the other animals.
“It was him,” said Postma to the New York Post. “I think he’s the culprit. He must have banged that fence and let him [sic] out last night. I’m almost positive. He must have put a lot of force into that.”
Police spokesman Darren Tynan addressed the controversy.
“Now people are thinking that it’s a conspiracy that this goat unlatched the gate and let out these other animals.”
Some locals suspect that they were tempted by the freedom that Fred enjoyed and wanted to join him.
The herd was being kept at the auction house longer than usual because the owner’s truck had broken down after he purchased the animals on Tuesday.
Hackettstown Mayor Maria DiGiovanni admitted rooting for the animals.
“People tend to rally for the escapees,” she said. “I kind of like when they break free, but I see both sides. It is a business.”
Tynan was grateful that nothing serious occurred.
“There could have been accidents,” he said. “We don’t know the mind of a sheep or a goat or what they’ll do.”
This escape attempt is reminiscent of the herd of goats that roamed through an Idaho neighborhood earlier this month, which was shared by the Inquistr. The goats were accidentally freed while working for the company We Rent Goats.
Although the attempt is similar, Fred does not appear to be behind the Idaho incident.
Tynan confirmed to the New York Post that there is no known connection between the Idaho incident and Hackettstown escape attempt.