Nine-year-old girl suing state fair after her pet goat was sold and barbecued even though family tried to withdraw from fair

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When Jessica Long’s family purchased a white Boer baby goat at seven-months of age and took it to their home in Shasta County, California, their young daughter fell in love with the adorable little one and named him Cedar. The two bonded as if the baby goat had been a puppy, and Cedar became a family pet.

The youngster had been enrolled in the local 4-H youth program and in June 2022, the girl took her beloved pet goat to be shown at the Shasta District Fair livestock auction. Even before the auction began, the family decided this wasn’t for them and tried to back out, but officials said the rules prohibited that, and the goat had to be put up for auction.

The goat had been sold at the Shasta District Fair for $902 to a representative of State Senator Brian Dahle. And the little girl’s mom offered to pay the senator back the money he had spent on the goat as well as any expenses he may have accrued. A representative from the senator’s office stated he was “okay with the alternative solution of the goat getting to be donated to a farm that does weed abatement.”

Melanie Silva, the chief executive officer of the Shasta District Fair, however responded and insisted the goat be returned, fearing that saving Cedar would have become a “point of controversy” even though the goat’s family lived in an agricultural community.

And then came a “wild goat chase” as the situation escalated to absurd investigations sending officers hundreds of mile across the country to retrieve a goat a little girl didn’t want to be sold for meat. Less than two weeks later, the Shasta sheriff filed a search warrant in an order to retrieve the goat. When the goat was not at the location they thought, the deputies went to another farm without a search warrant – traveled more than 500 miles in northern California and brought the goat back for “slaughter/destruction” even though the search warrant had required them to hold the goat until a court hearing.

It is believed Cedar was slaughtered and barbecued at a community function.

According to Advancing Law for Animals, Jessica’s family has since filed a federal lawsuit against Shasta District Fair officials and the county, stating it had been an “egregious waste of police resources” and one that violated her and her daughter’s 4th and 14th Amendment rights protecting them from unreasonable searches and seizures, and due process. Long’s family alleged they were always ready to settle the civil suit.

As per the LATimes, this entire debacle was “shocking,” said Ryan Gordon, an attorney with Advancing Law for Animals. “It’s a little girl’s goat, not Pablo Escobar.”

Government officials, escalated a purely civil dispute into a sham criminal pursuit.

Vanessa Shakib, Long’s attorney

In addition, there are other factors involving this sad case of a child’s goat she loved. A child can’t be held to the same standards in law as an adult – Jessica was 9-years-old and wanted her goat to live.

The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2022, but amended this week. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office stated they are not able to respond to pending litigation.

Plaintiffs are represented by Advancing Law for Animals and the Law Offices of Daniel J. Kolde. Advancing Law for Animals is a California-based, nonprofit law firm that specializes in complex and novel issues of animal law.

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  1. Beyond disgusting. Seizure of the goat without the search warrant for a different location was unlawful and the sheriff’s office and deputies were out of line (bullies with badges)……


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