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Wandering critters are a police problem, says ODOT

Has anyone noticed the two goats grazing in the area that used to be the on-ramp from East Barnett Road to Interstate 5? Did the city place them there? ODOT? Or are they part of the homeless camp near Bear Creek?

— Ryan M., Medford

Well, Ryan, you're not the only one to raise this question, but to your credit, you went above and beyond the call of duty by also coming up with an answer.

We'll get to your follow-up email in a moment, but first, here's what we heard from our friends at the Oregon Department of Transportation:

ODOT spokesman Gary Leaming let us know what he was able to "round up" on the animals (hasn't anyone told him we're supposed to be the punsters around here?):

"Two were noticed about a month ago, but are now gone from ODOT property. We assume they'd escaped from a nearby landowner, since we did not place them there."

Leaming also noted that the critters are not welcome on ODOT land because they eat native plants as well as weeds, and restoring native plants to the site is part of the plan for the interchange area.

He pointed out that the city of Medford has used goats on its parks property along Bear Creek near U.S. Cellular Park on the opposite side of the freeway. Eagle Point goat herder Ern Russell was selected to install a temporary electric fence in the Jefferson Nature Center, then bring in up to 32 goats and a guardian dog. There are no reports of missing goats from that herd, however.

Now on to Ryan's email update:

Ryan tells us that he called animal control and was told the stray animals are sheep (although others writing to us have also described them as goats). He was told that since they are livestock, the police are responsible. The police, who seem to be busy with bank robberies, drug dealers and the like, are not planning to do anything about wandering ruminants unless the animals become a traffic hazard. Apparently, unknown people have attempted to catch them, but the beasts were too wily.

Our call to Jackson County Animal Control produced the same answer: Nobody knows much about them beyond the fact they are sheep — and they are a police issue.

So there you have it, Ryan, you know as much as we do. And kudos for not only asking a question, but also answering it! As for the rest of you Since You Asked questioners, Ryan has set a new standard, so get with it, people.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.