Kyla Jones has seen a lot of abused animals during her years in pet rescue.
Animals that have been starved or physically and sexually abused by humans have crossed her path. She thought she had seen it all.
Then came Whiskey.
The goat of unknown age or origin made news headlines when Sergio Palomares-Guzman, 28, a horse trainer from Grayson, Georgia, was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after posting a video on social media in which a goat was being force-fed cocaine and whiskey.
Jones, president and founder of SNAP2IT pet rescue in Atlanta, heard about the incident but didn't watch the video. It would have made her too angry, she said. "Cocaine and whiskey is a first," Jones said in a telephone interview. "Most people want to save that for themselves."
She immediately contacted animal control and told them she would take the goat. They dropped the animal at her farm the next day.
When he arrived, the first order of business was to give him a name.
“We tried to think of all kinds of names. We named him Whiskey. It just suits him,” Jones said with a chuckle.
At the time, Whiskey was undernourished and wary of people. He was scared and didn’t want to get off the truck, Jones said. SNAP2IT volunteers were eventually able to talk to him, rope him and get him out.
“He was severely underweight when he came in. You could see his backbone, ribs and hip bones,” Jones said. They had to beg him to eat. Volunteers tempted him with quartered apples and lots of veggies. His weight has since increased from a low of about 40 pounds to about 65 pounds.
“Now, he loves his veggies. He loves salad and lettuce and apples and grapes, anything we can give him he loves,” said Jones, who spends about $50 to $70 a day on fresh apples, bananas, grapes, lettuce and celery for Whiskey and her other two goats, Bonnie and Clyde.
In general, Whiskey is recovering well. He just went through another round of deworming and Jones said they are ready to start feeding him a daily cup of sunflower seeds to help address his mineral deficiencies.
In a few months, one of the local veterinarians who provides free services to SNAP2IT animals will come out to the farm and give him a full checkup, she said.
“We want to make sure he is healthy and make sure he doesn’t have any residual effects,” Jones said.
Socially, Whiskey is also adjusting well. Jones has owned her 5-year-old goats Bonnie and Clyde since they were babies. When Whiskey arrived, she worried about him getting a little too close to Bonnie. Fortunately, Whiskey was too tall for that pairing to work, but that didn’t stop Clyde from playing the jealous boyfriend. “Bonnie was paying so much attention to Whiskey,” Jones said. Now all three goats peacefully coexist and share a picnic table for meals.
It took a little more time for Whiskey to warm up to people, but he has learned to trust humans again.
When a group of students came out to the farm for the annual Georgia State University Cares day to volunteer their time, Whiskey showed just how comfortable he had gotten with people.
Everyone was paying a lot of attention to Mr. Banks, the potbellied piggy who had rolled over to let them scratch his belly. Whiskey watched all the action and came running over.
The student visitors were freaked out until Jones explained that Whiskey was jealous of the attention being given to Mr. Banks. Whiskey just wanted to give them kisses, said Jones who is leash training Whiskey now and will train him as a therapy animal for kids.
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