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Chet Ellis holds his dog Jim and the Decatur mystery goat for a group photo after Friday morning’s capture. Obviously, the two critters didn’t see eye to eye.
Daily photos by John Godbey
Chet Ellis holds his dog Jim and the Decatur mystery goat for a group photo after Friday morning’s capture. Obviously, the two critters didn’t see eye to eye.

Getaway
goat gets got

Local sheep farmer, border collie named Jim bag Baasheba after months on the lam(b)

By Ronnie Thomas
rthomas@decaturdaily.com · 340-2438

Over the past three weeks, Baasheba was a most wanted lady.

From the first time someone spotted the black nanny goat running into Decatur traffic, she seemed to be on everyone’s A-list. Her elusiveness brought her legendary status, as she became slicker than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in avoiding the law.

Calls and e-mails of sightings poured into The Daily from readers. A golfer tried to capture her in his cart at Decatur Country Club, a posse of city animal control officials gave chase and police tried to subdue her by stunning her with a Taser, which she neatly dodged.

All it took was a call to Decatur sheep farmer Chet Ellis. He captured Baasheba after his border collie, Jim, cornered her Friday in the backyard of a home on Country Club Lane.

The three newsmakers outside The Decatur Daily on Friday.
The three newsmakers outside The Decatur Daily on Friday.
Ellis, 75, said Mindy Gilbert from Decatur Animal Control first phoned him a week ago.

“She said she heard I had a dog that could catch a goat,” he said. “I said, ‘I think he can.’ ”

Gilbert said she got the call of the sighting Friday morning, went to the scene to be certain Baasheba was around and used her cell phone to call Ellis.

“It was about 10:30,” Ellis said. “I was at my son’s place in Oak Ridge. We were catching sheep and giving them worm medicine in the barn. My dog box was already in the bed of my pickup and the trailer with the cage hooked up.”

He said his wife had wanted to see the goat, so he went by his Spring Avenue Southwest home to pick her up. He said he had the goat by 11.

“Chet was quietly confident, and I was very impressed,” Gilbert said. “There was no hoopla. He knew exactly what he was going to do and went right out and did it.

‘Super job’

“And Jim did a super job. He was a thing of beauty to watch. Everybody and their brother have chased this poor animal for weeks, and it had been loose in the city for several months, and here come Chet and Jim. Game over. It took them about 10 minutes.”

Ellis said he parked about 75 yards away and immediately let Jim loose.

“He took control, and when the goat broke, he headed her off and chased her into a hedge bush in the backyard of the residence,” Ellis said. “Otherwise, she would have been all over that golf course.”

Ellis said Jim ran the goat out of the hedge bush into some shrubbery at the back of the house.

“He kept her at bay while I lassoed her,” he said.

Ellis checked Baasheba’s teeth, determining she is 2 years old, the same age as his dog. He examined her eyes and noted that she doesn’t have worms.

“She’s healthy,” he said. “There’s a possibility she is pregnant because of her large stomach.”

Is goat stew the future of Baasheba, named by a Daily reader?

“No way,” Ellis said. “I’m taking her to my son’s place, where she’ll join five goats he has running around. She can have babies if she wants and live out her life there. She’s certainly earned it.”

By early afternoon Friday, Ellis said, Baasheba was “running and jumping around with the other goats, eating grass and having a ball. She’s in hog heaven.”

And Gilbert knows whom to call if another goat goes on the lam. “The miracle is that in frightening it, no one managed to chase it directly into oncoming traffic, where it could have caused a hazard,” she said.

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