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Surprise culprit

A bear took the 4-H goats

COLUMBUS—The goat thief from the 4-H Center in Columbus ended up being a bear.

The Cooperative Extension Office had 4 goats missing last week then another 2 went missing later from the goat pen at the 4-H Center, located off Skyuka Drive in Columbus. The cooperative extension originally thought someone had stolen the goats out of the pen to sell, but after investigation, the office now thinks a bear got the goats. The other 2 goats disappeared Thursday night from a locked shed on the property.

Polk County Animal Control officers came to the property to investigate and discovered an area where the fence had been bent. They found bear droppings both in and around the goat paddocks, claw marks in various wood posts and panels and bear hair caught in the barbed wire fence.

“We are so incredibly grateful to all the people in our community who have called, dropped by and shared our pleas for help in finding the missing goats,” said Cooperative Extension Center Administrative Assistant Kerry Jones. “Our hearts are heavy with this loss but also full because of the compassion of so many who have reached out to us during this difficult week.”

Polk County Animal Control is working with North Carolina Wildlife Resource officers to track the bear’s location so it cannot harm additional livestock in the area.