Sheriff’s deputy Mike Ottensmeier frequently appears in rearview mirrors as a flash of red and blue lights before he gets out of his patrol car on traffic stops.
However, he recently was pulled over by Hillsboro resident Charles Naerebout Jr. on US-56 near the old Alco building.
Naerebout had been out putting up “missing goat” fliers when he noticed Ottensmeier cruise past around 1 p.m. Friday.
Naerebout tried to get Ottensmeier’s attention by flashing his headlights, but the officer kept driving, so Naerebout turned on his hazard flashers and pursued Ottensmeier while continuing to flash his headlights.
“I saw a guy in a pickup flashing me down so I said ‘OK let’s see what he wants,’” Ottensmeier said.
Naerebout reported the New Year’s disappearance of “White Zin,” a precious dappled Boer goat, and her unborn kids.
“He was obviously upset about the goat,” Ottensmeier said, “to flag an officer down on a busy highway with traffic whizzing by.
“What floored me was the goat’s value. I was thinking $50 maybe a $100. Then he told me it was worth $2,000.”
Naerebout said Ottensmeier’s jaw about dropped to his shoes.
Teresa, Naerebout’s wife, said adult registered dappled Boer goats are valued at anywhere from $400 to $40,000, depending on markings. A six-week-old dappled Boer goat can go for up to $1,600.
“Boer goats are meat goats, but White Zin wouldn’t have been used for meat,” Teresa said. “We’ve been trying to get some dappled into the herd.”
The Naerebouts believe someone who may have been driving a vehicle with a “real loud exhaust system” stole their beloved goat, unborn kids and all, from their home at 684 190th Rd. sometime around the turn of the New Year.
“She was just about ready to deliver twins or triplets, we figured,” Teresa said, “but she’s gone, we’ve searched everywhere,”
Naerebout discovered White Zin’s absence when he fed the herd near dawn on New Year’s Day.
“I instantly knew she gone,” Naerebout said. “We only have two dappled and I’d been keeping an eye on her because she’s due any day now.”
He said dappled Boer goats go off away from their herd to give birth, so he patrolled their fields looking for any sign of her. He checked fences for any breaches, but found none.
“Everything looked normal around the pen,” Teresa said. “We thought coyotes might’ve got her, but Charles couldn’t find any signs in the pastures.”
That night Naerebout recalled hearing a vehicle with a loud exhaust system around 11:45 p.m.
“You normally don’t hear sometime like that around here,” Naerebout said. “It could have just been kids, but it sounded like they were sitting there for awhile.”
Around that time, Teresa said her husband also heard one of their dogs bark for an extended period.
“He didn’t think anything of it because that dog barks at everything,” she said. “It’s young.”
Teresa said there were footprints in the goat’s area but it was hard to tell if they were old or new. There were not any tire tracks and none of the fences or gates near the house were damaged or ajar either, she said. Every other goat was accounted for.
The couple believes it is possible White Zin was targeted by people who knew the value of dappled boer goats.
Naerebout said their 4-foot woven wire fences were sound enough to contain the goats, but not tall enough to keep goat rustlers out.
White Zin’s unexplained disappearance may have more sinister implications than hungry predators conjure.
The couple also had heard of recent livestock mutilations in Harvey and McPherson Counties in which a bull’s genitals were cut off and a cow’s eyes were removed.
“That’s in our mind and we hope that’s not going on here,” Naerebout said.
If their pregnant goat was kidnapped, Teresa has a message for those who may have her.
“I don’t want to press charges,” Teresa said. “We just want her and the babies back in good condition.”