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LPD: Necropsy reveals goats were killed by dogs, not humans

Laurens Police said Tuesday a necropsy revealed that the three pygmy goats at Hastings Corner Farm & Garden in Laurens were killed by dogs, not by a person as previously suspected.

An investigation into the mysterious deaths of three pygmy goats at a small Laurens farm has revealed that the small goats were the victims of an attack by dogs.

According to the Laurens Police Department, the attack on the small goats at Hastings Corner Farm & Garden occurred sometime overnight on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week (Nov. 21-22). The goats were family pets kept in a fenced enclosure on the South Harper Street property.

Investigators had initially surmised the attacks involved a blade of some sort and expected foul play, but LPD Chief Keith Grounsell said the necropsies performed by the Clemson Extension Service in Lexington were done in order to determine the exact cause of death.

“We want to be 100% sure of the cause of death so we wouldn’t be going down any rabbit holes that we didn’t need to go down,” Grounsell said.

The post-mortem examinations revealed injuries consistent with canid attacks.

Investigators had theorized soon after the incident that the attacks could have been made by humans because initial examinations of the goats appeared to reveal stab wounds. Those theories gained traction after Mady Hastings, the farm’s owner, shared with police examples of online harassment from people who did not like the small farm abutting the highway and complained about the goats’ wire enclosure.

Grounsell said the initial investigation initially theorized something other than an animal attack due to “immense swelling/bloating of the bodies” and “little to no blood at the areas where lacerations could be seen in the throat and side of the head.”

“We needed answers that could only come from medical examiners through a necropsy,” he said.

In addition to the scientific evidence, Grounsell also said three dogs believed to have attacked the goats were spotted on surveillance cameras in the area around 2:55 a.m. running toward the Hastings’ farm.

He also said internet rumors of bloody fingerprints and human footprints at the scene were false.

Mady Hastings with her three pygmy goats.

With results of the necropsy known, Hastings said she was both relieved and still overwhelmed by the entire situation.

“(There’s) absolutely relief that there’s no sinister person walking around,” she said. “I’m still shocked. It really is baffling, and I’m just overwhelmed.”

Hastings sells produce from the farm to local restaurants and individuals. She also has a weekly subscription service for locals wanting fresh vegetables and provides fresh produce for free to local food banks.

A GoFundMe page was started Friday afternoon to help the Hastings family construct a privacy fence and purchase security cameras had raised over $9,000 as of Tuesday afternoon. Hastings said due to the circumstances, she will refund any money as requested. Any additional funds beyond the security and fencing additions and improvements will be donated to the Laurens County Humane Society, she said.

“We are appreciative of the outpouring of support and understanding of our mission,” Hastings said. “We are grateful for every message, extended hand and hope this brings relief to everyone knowing true evil did not exist in this instance.”

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