Update: Sadly, we have heard that sweet Gidget passed away this summer. Goats of Anarchy posted a moving tribute video to her that you can watch here. While you are on the site, you might consider a contribution to support their wonderful work to give the best life possible for these special needs kids.
There is a little bit of heaven on a farm in New Jersey for lucky goats whose only hope is rescue. Whether they suffered an injury such as frostbite, a birth defect, or have other special needs, the compassionate people at Goats of Anarchy provide a sanctuary for these precious “differently-abled” goats.
The rescue farm was started by Leanne Lauricella, who as she told People magazine, left a corporate job in New York City to become a “crazy goat person.” 1
In her book, Goats of Anarchy: One Woman’s Quest to Save the World One Goat at a Time, Leanne explained, “After marrying my husband in 2011, I made the big move to New Jersey, and the country life was calling my name, I was a new vegan with a budding compassion for farm animals, and I wanted to learn more about them. While exploring my new town, I drove down many country roads and saw pastures of cows, sheep, and goats, and there was something about the goats that intrigued me. My husband and I visited a goat farm, and I felt an instant connection, I knew right then that I wanted goats of my own.” 2 And so it began…
Leanne’s passionate journey gained widespread media attention after she created an Instagram account. As she told Inside Edition, “I wanted to show my friends and family how silly they were and how smart they are, and so I started an Instagram account as a joke called ‘Goats of Anarchy’ and before you knew it I had a farm full of special needs goats.” 3
Here are some of the incredible members of the Goats of Anarchy family.
First, meet Sunshine as she enjoys a bit of hay!
Sunshine found a home at GOA where she recovered from a bobcat attack. She will always look a bit mischievous with that little tongue sticking out, but she is a real cutie.
How sweet is Gidget?!
Goats of Anarchy shared that Gidget’s mom, an emaciated breeder for a petting zoo, was rescued on her way to slaughter when a woman saw she was pregnant. Gidget was born with deformed back legs, but GOA will have her set up with some wheels and she will get to run and play like any kid. GOA had rescued goats from that same petting zoo a few years back and they warn us all not to support petting zoos!
The folks at GOA created this special video just for humans as we all share a difficult time. Titled, “Watch This If You’re Feeling Alone,” 4 you can’t help but smile and get a tear in your eyes. There are lots of other terrific videos on their site and a link to a live feed from the Miomojo Playhouse where the “babies and blinds” play.
Meet Timmy and Peeps!
Many of the differently-abled kids at the sanctuary suffered frostbite to their feet when they were born. As the farm blog, Better Hens & Gardens explains, “Goat kids are born wet and don’t have a dry protective layer. If temperatures are close to or below freezing, goat owners really need to be present when the babies are born to get them dried off quickly. Otherwise, the babies (or some part of the babies) freeze. We hear stories of this each winter and it makes us sad.”5 Fortunately for kids like Timmy, GOA fits their legs with special prosthetics and some kids also use carts.
Some readers will already know Polly!
Polly, who is blind and has neurological and serious anxiety issues, took the internet by storm in 2016 after Leanne shared photos of Polly calmed by this duck costume. As Leanne explained to The Dodo, “I tried a ThunderShirt – it didn’t work. There’s something about that duck costume that calms her. She goes into a little trance. She just closes her eyes and she’s out.” 6
GOA also helps special needs pets find forever homes or hospice care through their Lawsons Heart Instagram page, named in honor of a little goat born with a terminal heart condition. The page essentially crowdsources help for animals in need—everything from coordinating cross-country transport for differently-abled animals to sanctuaries around the country to working to find homes for livestock raised by kids for FFA programs, like Pinky the pig who went from family pet to next-on-the-list-for-the-butcher-truck.
Thanks to Goats of Anarchy for letting us share some of their family here. If you want to learn more about the sanctuary or help support their wonderful work, we encourage you to visit here.
1Roberts, Madison. Meet the Woman Who Gave Up Everything to Save Special-Needs Goats: ‘It’s Not Work; It’s My Passion.’ People. 17 September 2018.
2Lauricella, Leanne. Goats of Anarchy: One Woman’s Quest to Save the World One Goat at a Time. New York: Quarto Publishing, 2017.
3Inside Edition Staff. Woman Who Gave Up a 6-Figure Salary to Raise Special Needs Goats. Inside Edition. 6 March 2019.
4Goats of Anarchy. “Watch this If You’re Feeling Alone.” YouTube. 17 April 2020.
5Better Hens & Gardens of Bramblestone Farm. Goats – How Much Cold Can They Take? November 2019.
6Alberts, Elizabeth Claire. Rescue Goat With Anxiety Only Calms Down In Her Duck Costume. The Dodo. 23 November 2016.
R.A. Kroft writes about her day-to-day journey in living a smaller, more sustainable life and other topics that interest her.
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