SULLIVAN, Maine — The deaths of nine goats found by the side of a dirt road has drawn the attention of law enforcement officials and the ire of the man who found them.

Michael Soule, a registered Maine guide who lives on Flanders Pond, said he found eight dead goats — one adult female and seven babies — Wednesday morning by the side of an access road that connects the Donnell Pond Public Lands reserve with Route 183. They were in the same spot where he had found a dead adult male goat early last week, he said.

Soule said the adult female looked as if she had just given birth, but he added that pregnant females usually have only two or three baby goats at a time. All the dead baby goats appeared to be newborns, he said.

“I would say all of them were only hours old,” Soule said. “It’s pretty sad.”

Soule said the adult male he found last week appeared to have been attacked by a coyote or some other kind of predator, but there were no signs of injury or wounds to the female and babies. In both cases, he said, there were footprints in the snow near the carcasses, indicating someone had placed the bodies there.

“The babies were lined up in rows — four in one row and three in another,” Soule said. “My wife and I would have taken them in a heartbeat. We’re animal lovers.”

Some of the babies had hay in their mouths, he added.

Soule said he spoke Wednesday with a state game warden who came out to the scene to examine the dead animals.

Attempts Thursday to contact the Maine Warden Service about the goats were unsuccessful.

Marie Zwicker, animal control officer for Sullivan and several surrounding towns, confirmed Thursday that nine dead goats have been found since last week near Donnell Pond, but she declined to release further information. She declined to comment on when they were found or what kind of state they appeared to be in when they died.

“We’re looking into it,” Zwicker said.

John Bott, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said Friday the goats were found on state land. Much of the land around Donnell and Flanders ponds and Tunk Lake is part of the Donnell Pond public land reserve, which is managed by the department’s Bureau of Parks and Lands. Bott said he did not have any additional information about the case.

Maine State Police said Thursday they received a call about the dead goats but have handed the case to Zwicker.

Anyone with information about the dead goats is asked to call Zwicker at 460-8920.

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....