Most New York commuters expect to encounter interesting characters on their morning commutes, but it’s not every day that a pair of goats is spotted cruising along subway tracks. The two were discovered Monday, August 20, along Brooklyn’s N train tracks between the Fort Hamilton Parkway and 8th Avenue stops on the N line in Brooklyn.

News spread quickly with plenty of punny headlines about a baa-ad day for bridge and tunneling. But few outlets recognized just how terrifying the ordeal must have been, how much danger these goats faced (until the MTA wisely switched off the power), or what horrors these intelligent, sensitive animals possibly escaped.

While a surprise for many New Yorkers, this was not the first time we at Farm Sanctuary have encountered farm animals wandering or fleeing through city streets. As soon as we heard, our rescue team leaped into action with our friends in New Jersey, Farm Sanctuary Board Member Tracey Stewart and her husband Jon, who have supported us on numerous New York City rescue endeavors. Along with Farm Sanctuary staff, they loaded the goats onto a trailer and transported them upstate from first-responders Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), to Cornell University Nemo Farm Animal Hospital where they will receive a full medical evaluation before being integrated into our herd at Watkins Glen to live the Farm Sanctuary life.

Not surprisingly, these goats arrived at the hospital in rough shape. Both were severely congested — health testing has since confirmed that the black-and-white goat, who has a high fever, has an upper respiratory infection (not pneumonia, as was assumed). Because of the way it is presenting, it is likely viral, but to rule out a bacterial infection, he has also been started on antibiotics. Both goats also had portions of their ears cut off prior to their rescue. One has a large round notch at the tip of the ear that looks like a punch-type cut. The other’s ear was sliced through one end — similar to what happened to Jordan, a presumed live-market escapee, who also came to Farm Sanctuary via the ACC. Initially, our most pressing concern was analyzing the effects of the tranquilizers that police and animal control used in capturing the goats; sadly, these drugs can be very hard on the kidneys and liver, and it’s possible to unintentionally overdose an animal while trying to subdue them. Fortunately, they seem to have avoided significant ill effects. Our vets are conducting extensive bloodwork to see how they’ve responded, and fecal exams since many of the animals who come to us from New York City have horribly high parasite loads. Routine diagnostics are also being performed to ensure that these two do not have any diseases that they could pass along to our other residents once they’re back at Farm Sanctuary. Due to the high fever of one of the boys, we are not planning on moving them until it breaks. We do not want to exacerbate any infections that the goats may have. Hopefully in a few days, we will be able to bring the boys home so they can start their lives at our New York Shelter.

We are so grateful for our friends at the ACC, the Stewarts, and all of our members and supporters who make our lifesaving rescue, education, and advocacy work possible. We are so excited to get to know these two and are thankful that they’ll be forever valued as someone, not something.

Please share their story to help spread the word that every farm animal is deserving of compassion and care. If you’re moved by their rescue, you may wish to contribute to Farm Sanctuary’s 2018 Vet Care Fund to support the lifelong care of rescued farm animals like them and help power all of our work to make the world a kinder place for farm animals!