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Illegal seizure and slaughter of 9-year-old girl’s goat: case

A 9-year-old girl in California brought her beloved pet goat to a fair for a livestock auction last June. Someone bid on the goat, but the girl, not wanting to part with the animal, did not give it up. Days later, two sheriff’s officers drove 500 miles to find and slaughter the goat.

The girl, identified in court documents as EL because she is a minor, and her mother, Jessica Long, are now suing the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department and the Shasta County Fair, accusing them of wrongfully seizing and killing the goat, named Cedar.

Before bidding began at the cattle auction, the plaintiffs tried to back out, the lawsuit said. Still, California State Sen. Brian Dahle, through his agent, bid $902.00 on the goat and won. About $63 of that went to the fair, with the rest going to the owners of the cedars. Only, they don’t want to sell any quantity of cider.

“Following the auction, Plaintiff will not leave EL Cedar’s side,” the suit reads. “Plaintiff EL loved Cedar and the thought of going to slaughter him was something he could not bear. While crying in his pen next to him, Plaintiff EL informed his mother that he did not want to kill Cedar.”

As a minor, under California law, EL has a “statutory right” to terminate the contract, the lawsuit reads. He tried to stop selling cedar at the fair, and he and his mother drove Cedar 200 miles away to a farm in Sonoma County, to “minimize any potential crack” on the goats.


Plaintiff, 9-year-old EL, and Cedar, his beloved goat.

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But BJ McFarlane, a defendant in the lawsuit and livestock manager for the Shasta Fair Association, demanded Cedar be returned for slaughter.

Long requested in a text and a letter to McFarlane that the fair could keep the full $902.00 payment for Cedar. He also contacted the winning bidder, Dahl, whose representatives said “he will not resist his efforts to save Seder from slaughter.”

Nevertheless, the defendants charged Long with theft, and obtained a criminal search warrant to seize the goat. And on July 8, Lt. Jerry Fernandez and Detective Jacob Duncan executed that warrant, driving nearly 10 hours to apprehend the goat.

Fair workers slaughtered Cedar late at night after deputies took him down on charges of a lawsuit.

The plaintiffs said the deputies’ actions were outside the scope of the theft investigation and that fair employees were not part of any investigation or administrative or judicial proceeding that allowed them to take the goat.

They say that several of their rights were violated during the ordeal, including their Fourth Amendment right “to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of their property,” as well as their right to due process and that they believe they are entitled to compensatory damages. of property

The Longs are being represented by attorneys from Advancing Law for Animals, a nonprofit that handles complex animal law cases. Vanessa Saqib, co-director of the agency, said in a statement to CBS News that the case was “a gross miscarriage of justice and a complete failure of priorities.”

“Government officials abused their authority to intimidate a little girl by turning an entire civil dispute into a criminal circus – where they acted as judge, jury and executioner in violation of the law,” he said.

Shakib said his minor client “owns Cedar and has the right to repudiate any contract that exists under California law.” He said the dispute should have been treated in court as a property dispute, not with the police. “Government officials seized and killed a child’s beloved pet without due process or notice. We should be very concerned when armed men break down a nine-year-old’s beloved pet with a warrant. It is outrageous and textbook. Government overreach.”

The trial date is set for October 7, 2024. The amount of damages sought by the plaintiffs will be determined at trial.

CBS News has reached out to an attorney for the defendants and is awaiting response.

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Caitlin O’Kane


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