SALT LAKE CITY — A Washington state man walking across the country on behalf of a charity said he received no sympathy from police and animal control workers while he was visiting Salt Lake City.
The officers impounded Steve Wescott's goat named LeeRoy Brown after he left it tied up outside a bar Wednesday night while he was inside eating dinner. A concerned citizen saw the goat wearing a hunter orange pack and called police.
"It's not necessarily illegal to have a goat with you in the city limits or walking down the street," said Salt Lake police detective Carlie Wiechman. "Since there was no crime being committed, at that point, we turned it over to animal control to have them decide whether that goat needs to be taken or not for the safety of the goat."
Wescott said when he exited the bar near 400 S. State, he found an animal control worker loading LeeRoy into the back of a van. He admits that he became heated and exchanged words with the officer and animal control worker. In the end, they drove away with the goat.
"I had to go pay to get him out from animal services, and every little penny counts for me," Wescott said. "In the end, this takes away from the kids."
Wescott was reunited with his goat Thursday after paying a standard impound fee of nearly $50. He believes that could have been avoided. He accused the officer and animal control worker of being rude, but said the situation could have been handled better by both sides.
"I'll be the first to apologize to the cops, no problem," he said. "I'm not trying to be a crusader against ‘the man.' I just want to continue what I'm doing."
Salt Lake County Animal Services declined to comment about the incident, but pointed to sections of the Salt Lake City municipal code that say people cannot possess livestock without a permit.
In December 2010, while touring with a band, Wescott had the idea to walk across the country. A couple of months later he left the band and worked on making his idea to walk 3,100 miles from Seattle to New York come to life.
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Wescott is raising money for an organization called Uzima Outreach and Intervention, an organization that helps drug addicts and street children with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He knew he would get lonely walking across the country, so he found a 10-month-old Rottweiler to go with him. Unfortunately, a few months into training, Louie suffered an injury and was unable to make the journey.
Wescott did some research and learned that goats are pack animals and make great companions on the road. He contacted the New Moon Goat Rescue and that’s where he met LeeRoy.