Teens try to ride South Side Park donkey before assaulting it with rocks
First someone destroyed their fence and now someone tried to ride their donkey.
It's been a rough month for the goats eating their way through wild grape vines at South Side Park in Pittsburgh's South Side Slopes neighborhood.
According to a post on South Side Park's Facebook page, a group of six teenage boys jumped the fence surrounding the goats around 8 p.m. Wednesday and tried to ride Hobo, the donkey that protects the goats.
The boys then assaulted the donkey with rocks, according to the post.
A comment from Allegheny GoatScape, the nonprofit providing the goat herd for the park, said the animals appeared to be doing fine.
"All of the animals seem OK, but also wanted to hang out a little more than usual this evening. Really appreciate the neighbors who are looking out for the herd; many thanks," the comment read with a photo of the herd hard at work attached.
Allegheny GoatScape posted on its Facebook page that it was hoping for a calm night.
Someone stole solar power equipment from the site and damaged the electric fence surrounding the goats on Aug. 1.
Colleen Lutz saw the boys from her back yard. She watched one climb over the fence. At first she thought it was a volunteer but then the boy tried to ride Hobo. The boy had a cellphone in his hand.
"Like he was trying to make a video," Lutz said. "Then he kept trying to get on the donkey, and then next thing I know there were a group of five or six other kids who came up to the valley and they looked up to no good."
Lutz first tried to call Allegheny GoatScape. Then she called police. She thinks she startled the boys, because they ran off and started throwing rocks at the herd. One rock hit one of the goats pretty hard, Lutz said.
"They were throwing them kind of hard, and they were big-sized rocks. I could see them from my back porch," Lutz said.
She called Allegheny GoatScape the next day to check on the goats. None were hurt but she heard that the goats weren't acting like themselves that day. They were clinging together, Lutz said.
"Which is understandable considering they had just been through that kind of trauma," Lutz said.
Lutz said police arrived and searched for the boys.
Lutz loves watching the goats. She hopes this incident doesn't dissuade people not to use them.
"I feel like they're my children," she said. "I feel like I have a piece of the country in the city. I could just sit there and watch them for hours."
South Side Park's Facebook post described the boys as 15- to 17-year-olds. There were two white boys and four black boys. One black boy was wearing blue jean shorts and a white T-shirt. Another boy was wearing shorts and a blue jersey with white letters. Comments indicated a neighbor saw the boys.
The post asked anyone with information to call 911 or the Pittsburgh police Zone 3 station at 412-488-8326.
Pittsburgh police didn't immediately respond to a request for more information.
Aaron Aupperlee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-336-8448 or via Twitter @tinynotebook.