More agencies are now being sued as part of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of a beloved goat named Cedar, who was sold to likely slaughter against the wishes of the young girl who raised him.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, was amended in March to also name as defendants Shasta County, the Shasta County Fair and its CEO, and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office — which reportedly sent deputies on a 500-mile, taxpayer-funded trip to seize the goat.
The amended lawsuit also makes additional claims, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, retaliation, and an alleged violation of due process and the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Cedar, a sweet brown and white goat who was raised by Jessica Long and her 9-year-old daughter through an agricultural program, is the subject of the lawsuit.
When the time came to sell Cedar at auction for slaughter, Long’s daughter asked to withdraw her beloved goat — a request that her mother honored but fair officials and local law enforcement did not.
Long reportedly told fair officials she would pay for Cedar, obtained a statement from the state representative who had placed the winning bid of $902 for the goat that he would not oppose her rescue efforts, and relocated Cedar to a farm.
A fair official then reportedly called Long and threatened to have her charged with grand theft — a felony, according to news reports.
When Long did not return the goat, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant to seize the goat from a named rescue in Sonoma County — more than 150 miles away from where the office is located — where Cedar had never been, according to the lawsuit.
Deputies then reportedly drove to a second location — not included in the search warrant — and seized the goat. The deputies then transported Cedar back to the Fair for slaughter at a community barbecue, although the judge who signed the search warrant expressly ordered that Cedar be kept alive as evidence “until the end of the criminal case,” according to the lawsuit.
Long and her daughter are being represented by attorneys Vanessa Shakib and Ryan Gordon of law firm Advancing Law for Animals.
“Looking at this case, what we see is county and fair officials improperly used their authority and connections to transform a purely civil dispute into a sham criminal matter,” Shakib told news.
The sheriff’s office denied most of the claims in a filed response and said no search warrant was needed for the second property, according to The Sacramento Bee — which also reported the deputies spent more on gas during their seizure of Cedar than the Fair would have received as proceeds from Cedar’s cruel sale.
Meanwhile, Long’s daughter remains haunted by Cedar’s death, Shakib said.
“She is absolutely heartbroken,” Shakib told news. “It is devastating to lose a beloved pet who is a family member.”
If you haven’t already, please sign our petition on Cedar’s behalf, asking that county and fair officials and law enforcement allow for a more compassionate path forward for other animals raised through this program!