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Misty the MAFF murdered Goat

9 April 2001, page 1

by Alice Thomson

KIRSTIN McBRIDE arrived home from work to find her goat, Misty, lying dead in the drive. The family pet had been given a lethal injection.

Shocked neighbours say that the goat - which slept by the fire and ate in the kitchen - was "murdered" on the orders of the Ministry of Agriculture. Miss McBride was distraught. She was arrested over an incident in which she allegedly bit the policeman guarding Misty's body and appears in court tomorrow.

Miss McBride, 21, her mother, Elizabeth Walls, and step-father, George Walls, live in Mouswald, Dumfries, with their dogs, a pony and the goat. Mrs Walls said: "Misty was part of us." When foot and mouth broke out, they put the pony and goat in a barn and made sure that all visitors were disinfected.

Three weeks later, the neighbouring farmer's livestock were killed as a precaution, but the Walls family were told by ministry officials that their goat did not need to be culled. Nine days later, on April 2, a veterinary surgeon rang to say he had been authorised to dispose of it.

The family begged him to test Misty first. The next day another veterinary surgeon tried to convince them. Mrs Walls said: "We padlocked Misty in the barn just to make sure." Last Thursday evening, a third veterinary surgeon came to the house to explain that he had to destroy their goat.

Mrs Walls said again she wanted a test carried out first. She said: "I couldn't bear it if she was healthy and they killed her. I didn't think they could force you to have an uninfected pet put down."

The veterinary surgeon said he would call the police and two arrived. Mrs Walls said: "They came into the kitchen and asked for a chat. After 15 minutes we heard a blood-curdling scream."

Miss McBride had arrived home from her job as a rail operator at Lockerbie station to find three Land Rovers blocking the road and her goat lying dead with a plastic bag over its head. Her mother said: "The policeman tried to restrain Kirstin. She was so upset. She's still in a terrible state."

Miss McBride was handcuffed and taken to the local police station but released after three hours. An officer said last night: "A 21-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with a number of offences. She will appear in court this Tuesday."

Mrs Walls said: "If the goat had been a carrier, of course she would have had to go. But this was so cruel. We couldn't even say goodbye." Their neighbour, Juanita Wilson, said: "It's becoming a police state. We're all frightened for our pets now."

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