More than 100 goats will chomp vegetation near Alderwood mall

LYNNWOOD — They came. They saw. They ate.

An army of 110 goats is chomping through tangled vegetation that was overtaking the Alderwood mall detention pond. The goats will be on the job through July 2 or 3.

The Lynnwood Public Works Department deployed them behind the AMC Loews Alderwood Mall 16 theaters to clear blackberry bushes and other overgrown greenery populating the steep slope around the pond.

The goats are grazing under contract with Rent-A-Ruminant of Vashon Island. Tammy Dunakin, the head wrangler and owner, began the business 10 years ago with two goats.

Dunakin owns 135 now and names them all. They include Dewey, Guinness and Ringo. During a visit to their job site, it was clear each goat has a unique personality, moxie and spunk. Ernie has starred in a Taco Time commercial.

“They love what they do,” Dunakin said.

A majority of the goats are rescued or obtained from previous owners who could not take care of the animals. In Dunakin’s herd, there are nine breeds.

When a goat retires, usually around the age of 10 to 12, it is not slaughtered. It retires to a loving home.

For the city of Lynnwood, the goats are a perfect solution to overgrown areas. The animals curb unwanted vegetation without herbicides.

“The city has been very sustainability-minded,” City Councilman Ian Cotton said.

And with goats, there is no debris left behind or even seeds. Their digestive system sterilizes seeds, so when the goats relieve themselves, the prospect of vegetation returning is slim.

Goats will eat most plants including blackberries, ivy, Scotch broom, nettle, thistle, tree saplings and many others.

Without machinery, the work is done quietly, although one can hear an occasional bleat or baa.

And goats can clear areas inaccessible to machines and humans.

“The pond slopes are really steep, and our guys can only go so far,” said Lynnwood Environmental and Surface Water Manager Jared Bond. “One of our guys actually fell in the pond.”

The city estimates it would cost 27 cents per square foot if the work was done by humans. The goats do the same work for a mere 13 cents per square foot.

After about 10 days, the goats have cleared 58,000 square feet.

After the shrubbery is cleared from the Alderwood mall detention pond, the city is considering using goats for other projects.

Brenna Holland: bholland@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Agencies launch coordinated response to an opioid ‘emergency’

Health workers, law enforcement agencies and emergency managers are responding as they might to a disaster.

King County sheriff could face felony charge in groping case

A former deputy claims John Urquhart groped him. Renton police forwarded the case to the prosecutor.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Pair charged with first-degree robbery in marijuana theft

A man was shot in the head during a holdup that was supposed to net about an ounce of pot.

Puffy-coated robbery suspect arrested on Whidbey

The suspect apparently wore the same outfit in 2 robberies at the same place in less than 2 weeks.

Planning — and patience — can ease Thanksgiving travel

The Washington State Department of Transportation offers information to help guide planning.

Front Porch

JUST FOR YOUTH Fun with leftovers The week after Thanksgiving is always… Continue reading

Former Rose intern says he made her watch sex scene from movie

She says the longtime news anchor never physically touched her during the 20-minute encounter.

Most Read