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Her dwarf goats are part of the family

Auburn resident not happy about droppings left by the animals in Central Square
By: Max Puckett Journal Correspondent
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Cynthia Comiskey loves her kids Scottie and Frankie. So, when a citizen of Auburn complained of their presence at Auburn Central Square, she felt compelled to introduce her well-trained family members to those who haven’t had the pleasure. Upset by a number of perceived abuses to the new tiles in Auburn Central Square, such as graffiti, litter, dog owners failing to clean up after their pets and bicyclists leaving black streaks, Sally Dawley of Auburn wrote a letter to the editor of the Auburn Journal concluding with the final insult: having to eat outside while the couple next to her have goats leaving droppings on the sidewalk. Their kids are, of course, goats. But that does not stop Newcastle residents Cynthia and Paul Comiskey from taking them everywhere they go. “They are my children,” said Cynthia Comiskey, the goats’ owner. “They are like 4-year-olds. You never have to go through the teenage years, they are always like 4-year-olds.” Scottie, 7, and Frankie, 6, are Nigerian Dwarf goats the couple rescued from different shelters. Both have been fixed and de-horned. “They love car rides,” Comiskey said. “Scottie got me out of a ticket once. I was pulled over because I had a taillight out. The officer shined his flashlight around in the car and saw Scottie. We started talking about him and he let me go and just said to fix it. Another time my husband was at a park and two women in a canoe shouted that grazing animals are not allowed in the park. He said ‘do you have that in writing?’ and the woman paddled over, got out, and pulled out her ticket book; she was a park ranger. Scottie started tugging on her keys and her sleeve and sniffing at her and she laughed and started talking about them (the goats) and let him go without a ticket.” Comiskey isn’t worried about the complaint. “I think the woman complaining is just 1 in 100,000. She was complaining about a lot of things. People love (the goats) wherever we go. People are always stopping and asking about them and petting them. The (goats) are very sociable. They’ve never hurt anything, kids, animals, or humans.” According to Mike Winters, animal control manager for Placer County, goats are considered livestock. “I’ve never been asked how this distinction would affect people who have goats as pets,” Winters said. “I’d imagine that just like a dog not being allowed in a store, a goat would not be allowed either. Unless a dog has service tags and I don’t believe you can get service tags for a goat, admittance would be up to the individual store owner.” Josh Huntsinger, deputy agriculture commissioner for Placer County, said zoning would take precedence, not an animal’s intended purpose, when determining a goat’s legality as a pet. “Pygmy goats are allowed in residential areas, as pets I’m assuming,” Huntsinger said. Code enforcement officials for the city of Auburn were unavailable Friday for questioning regarding this mammalian mystery. Comiskey isn’t concerned over the black and white. “We take them to old folks homes to cheer them up. We go to a lot of parks, Granite Bay, Roseville, some stores, anywhere really,” Comiskey said. “They take showers with me. They sleep in their beds in the sunroom but they have been known to sleep in our bed with us.” Dawley, who has encountered goat droppings on three occasions, wouldn’t mind the goats if they were better cleaned up after. “Horses in parades and dogs are pets, too, and horse apples and dog droppings have to be picked up,” Dawley said. “Why should goats be different?” Common misconceptions of goats, according to Comiskey: “People think goats stink, they don’t if you get them fixed,” she said. “Goats have a reputation of eating everything, which they don’t. Goats are very curious. They check everything out with their mouths but don’t eat everything. They all have very different personalities.“