Etna family seeking apology from postal worker it says ran over pet goat

Posted June 14, 2012, at 4:14 p.m.
Last modified June 14, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.
Boomer, a 3-month-old pet goat of the Rice family in Etna. The goat was run over by a postal service driver on Wednesday.
Barbara Rice
Boomer, a 3-month-old pet goat of the Rice family in Etna. The goat was run over by a postal service driver on Wednesday.
Boomer (top), a 3-month-old pet goat of the Rice family in Etna, stands next to his brother, Nougat. Boomer was run over by a postal service driver on Wednesday
Barbara Rice
Boomer (top), a 3-month-old pet goat of the Rice family in Etna, stands next to his brother, Nougat. Boomer was run over by a postal service driver on Wednesday

ETNA, Maine — A local woman says her family is saddened and upset after a U.S. Postal Service driver ran over their pet goat Wednesday. The goat had to be put down.

Barbara Rice, who lives on the West Etna Road, said she, her husband, Craig, and three sons have been heartbroken by the incident.

“We had a package delivered and my 12-year-old [Cody] went out to get the package,” Barbara Rice recalled, adding that the family had three goats that liked to greet visitors. “He was yelling out at the mailman [about the goats around his truck]. He backed up and ran over it.

“If he would’ve taken two seconds to make sure Cody had the third [goat out of the way], it wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Three-month-old Boomerang, or Boomer for short, was run over on the left side of its body, breaking bones and his hip. Rice said she rushed the goat to a veterinary clinic. She said surgery was an option but the $1,500 price tag wouldn’t guarantee the kid would make it. So the decision was made to put Boomer down. Barbara Rice’s husband buried the goat.

“My husband even cried, and he’s a pretty strong dude,” said Barbara Rice.

She said each of her sons had a goat to call his own. Boomer was Cody’s goat.

“He went to a friend’s house [after the incident],” said Rice. “He really wants to stay there to keep his mind busy. I just talked to him. He was still sad, but he’s playing basketball.”

Although the veterinary bill was $300 for X-rays, Rice said she’s just seeking an apology.

“A piece of me expected a note or a card in the mailbox [from the driver on Thursday] — just a ‘sorry.’ But we got nothing,” she said. “I think he should be held liable to some extent. I think it would mean more to my boys if he came to them face to face and said, ‘I’m sorry.’”

Rice said she has emailed postal authorities with her account of what happened and the veterinary bill.

An official at the post office in Carmel, where the driver works, referred questions to the northern New England district office.

Denise Varano, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service, said the accident is under investigation.

“While accidents [by USPS drivers] are isolated, we deeply regret when any harm results,” Varana said in a telephone interview.

Rice said the other two goats, Junior and Nougat, are left wondering what happened to Boomer.

“Now we have the goats yelling. They don’t understand where Boomer is,” she said.

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