When Peyton Hill first saw the goat lying with its head in the food bowl, she thought it was simply tuckered out from spending the day with so many people at the Alabama State Fair petting zoo in Pelham. She left to go wait in line for a ride, she wrote on Facebook.
But when she came back hours later, the goat was in the same position. Head still stuck in food bowl. Still not moving.
“My stomach sunk. I immediately knew that something wasn’t right and the goat was you know, dead,” Hill said, according to ABC 33/40.
Hill’s boyfriend Carter “touched the goat and lifted his head a little to find that he was limp. Then the miniature donkey in the same pin stepped on the little goat and he still did not move ... with tears in my eyes I told the man running the petting zoo “Your goat over there is dead,’” Hill wrote on Facebook. She wrote that the worker picked up the goat’s head and “dropped” it back into the food bowl.
Witnesses said seeing the animal was disturbing to them and to children, Patch reported.
Hill shared a video of the petting zoo and posted it on Facebook along with her story.
The video, which was viewed more than 113,000 times since it was posted Sunday, sparked outrage online.
But a state fair official said the petting zoo made the right call by putting the goat out on the public floor, and also said the goat was not dead when Hill saw it, according to ABC 33/40.
“What she saw was an animal that was injured and that was trying to recoup,” said state fair director Mark Lovell, according to the station. He explained that the animal was left to rest and when it was “back there by itself, it was just wailing and making all this noise because it didn’t want to be by itself.”
Pelham police investigated the incident and said the goat had been injured when a camel fell on it, AL.com reported.
“Officers have observed the animals several times since the incident, including on Sunday and today,” police said in a statement, according to the site. “At no time did they observe any without food or water, and none appeared to be in distress. We have determined this was an unfortunate accident.”
But Hill said she still felt what happened was wrong.
“They just let him lay there the whole time when he was critically injured, in the public ... he was in the heat all day long with no help, no medication, no medical attention, just still being pet by kids and stuff,” she told McClatchy in a phone interview. “Obviously he wasn’t healing, he was dying.”
No charges were filed and police said they would have nothing more on the matter.