Goat was one of last survivors from Westport at West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton
May 4, 2023
By Ted Hayes
Maggie the goat, one of the last local survivors of the massive 2016 animal cruelty case in Westport, died in late April at the West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton, her home for the past seven years.
The black and white goat, who came to West Place with her blond sister Sadie, died after a long and happy "second act" at the sanctuary, West Place's Patrick Cole said Thursday. An endless inspiration to volunteers and a favorite of visitors, she died following a battle with a degenerative spinal condition.
"Maggie wasn't just a goat, she was an icon who will never be forgotten," he said.
The 2016 cruelty case involved more than 1,400 animals and is still the largest case of animal abuse in the history of the Northeast. In October 2016, authorities charged three people with six felony counts of animal cruelty, and in 2017 a grand jury returned 151 indictments against the farm's owner and tenants who rented out space on the property. All charges were dropped in 2020.
Maggie and her sister were among 67 Westport animals that found a new life at West Place. Though she was initially slow to trust humans and along with her sister had significant health issues, West Place staffers slowly nursed both goats back to health after their arrival. Cole said Maggie's resiliency was astounding — apart from learning to trust humans again, she soon became a staff, volunteer and fan favorite. She loved to patrol the sanctuary grounds and long ago figured out how to work the sanctuary's visitors for treats, standing up on her hind legs until a tidbit was offered. Cole described her as "sweet with a touch of sass," and she got along with humans and non-humans alike, and was equally at ease with alpacas, horses and birds as she was her two-legged friends.
With Maggie's loss, the sanctuary now has four peacocks remaining from the Westport case, as well as Sadie, some Japanese koi fish, to sheep, Shaw and Colby, and one duck that's still doing its thing, Cole said.
It has been a blessing to care for Maggie and the other Westport rescues, Cole said, and the charming and friendly goat is missed.
"It was impossible to look at her without smiling or laughing," he said. "She made an impression on thousands of people, and helped educate the next generation of animal lovers. We don't know how old Maggie was, but for the last seven years she lived a lifestyle other goats can only dream of."