Claim: An abused goat kills its
Origins: Carl Hulsey was determined to turn his white billy goat, Snowball, into a watchdog, whether Snowball wanted to be one or not. To that end, 77-year-old
Hulsey, a retired poultry worker from Canton, Georgia, took to beating Snowball with a stick to make him more aggressive. “Pa, this goat’s going to kill you if you keep that up,” Alma Hulsey warned her husband. She was right.
Domesticated animals that kill human beings, as Snowball did, are often deemed dangerous and put down. Once the goat’s story was known, however, the officials who were to decide Snowball’s fate were inundated with pleas to spare the creature. More than
Snowball. Some even made death threats. “What happens to the goat happens to you,” one caller reportedly warned. There was also talk of a bomb being planted if the goat didn’t walk.
Snowball got his reprieve. He was turned over to Noah’s Ark, a private animal shelter for neglected and abused animals in Locust Grove, a little town south of Atlanta. Four hours after his arrival, he was laid on a kitchen table and neutered, an operation intended to make him less aggressive. He was also rechristened “Snow.”
Why this furor over a goat and the seeming lack of concern for the man whose life it had ended? In the small community Hulsey had been part of, he was well and truly mourned. Yet outside that pocket of acquaintance, sentiment ran the other way — many animal lovers saw a certain divine justice in his fate. He’d brought harm to an animal, and the animal had struck back.
As Tom Teepen, editor of the editorial pages of The Atlanta Constitution, noted:
We are keener to understand and spare an abused goat than an abused human. Indeed, when a human kills, we sneer at his defense as a dodge — ‘Yeah, yeah sure, his mother didn’t love him’ — yet we are sentimental about killer goats. We are a very strange animal.
Barbara “dodgy ram” Mikkelson
Last updated: 29 July 2011
Grizzard, Lewis. “Officials Should Spare Snowball, The Killer Goat.” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. 20 May 1991 (p. D1). Schmich, Mary. “Killer Goat Wins a Reprieve After Ending Abuse His Way.” Chicago Tribune. 24 May 1991 (p. C1). Yardley, Jim. “Goat Kills Cherokee Man Who Taught Him to Be Mean.” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. 17 May 1991 (p. E2). St. Petersburg Times. “Many Want to Get This Goat.” 22 May 1991 (p. A1).