March 2012 update:
Despite how sick and weak Elliott was when he was rescued, we are delighted to report he has grown and improved in leaps and bounds. He has put on 20 pounds and has gained enough strength to romp and play. Elliott is still being treated for an abscess in his lung, but he continues to improve and his spirits are high as he works to regain his full health.
Elliott’s rescue story:
The tag in his ear read, “MEAT.” Inserted before he was shipped from Pennsylvania into New York, it allowed the little goat to cross state lines without undergoing the usual tests: His stay would be brief; he was shortly to be killed.
But his label would not be his destiny. The 1-year-old goat was transported to a Brooklyn “live market,” – one of many facilities in New York and elsewhere, where customers select live animals to be slaughtered onsite – but he escaped. After a police officer found him wandering in an area where a number of these markets exist, Brooklyn’s Animal Care and Control took him into custody. They called Farm Sanctuary, and we dispatched a team to ferry the survivor to our New York Shelter.
When staff first saw Elliott, they were amazed that he had found the strength to make his bid for freedom. Clearly a victim of neglect, he was emaciated, dehydrated, breathing heavily, and afflicted with orf, or “sore mouth.” Another infection had caused one of his eyes to swell shut; tilting his head, he squinted through the other, also swollen, as he tried to make out the people who had come to bring him to safety.
Although he was so exhausted that he slept for most of the five-hour trip back to Watkins Glen, Elliott couldn’t resist a few forays up to the front of the van to investigate his chauffeurs. After an examination at the shelter, it was necessary to take him to our vets at Cornell University Hospital for Animals to begin treating his many ailments. His early days at Cornell were touch and go, and we worried he might be beyond our assistance. We feared that, in addition to suffering bodily from extreme neglect, his spirit was broken as well. National Shelter Director Susie Coston made many trips to Ithaca over several weeks to assess his progress. To our relief, Elliott has once again overcome dire circumstances. He is now beginning to recover, and he is even becoming open to affection.
The humans who once held Elliott’s fate in their hands could see only “MEAT” when they looked at him. In their eyes, that label defined him, obscuring the neglected and suffering animal beneath. When we came for Elliott, we saw his pain and also his fortitude, his determination to live. And as we labor to heal him, we see something else, too: the life of peace, connection and joy that awaits him. We see an animal who always had the capacity for such a life, though the opportunity to live it was denied him. We see an individual who is so much more than a word inscribed on an ear tag.
To help Elliott, and all farm animals in need receive lifesaving care, please contribute to our Emergency Rescue Fund.