SMITHFIELD — In an unusual encounter during his morning route, a 14-year-old Utah paperboy says a goat knocked him onto the ground and chased him up a tree.
Smithfield resident Jaxon Gessel says he was delivering papers Tuesday morning when a goat approached him from the side and head-butted him off his bike.
"It just freaked me out when it stood up on its hind legs and just wrapped its front legs around me, and pulled me off," Gessel said.
He had seen a shape in the morning darkness and didn't think much of it at first, passing it off as a dog. Then, he said, it started making a "grunting noise" and he saw the goat approaching him.
The goat chased the teen up a tree and the two looked back and forth at each other for about an hour.
The teen says the hour-long standoff ended when the goat started chasing girls passing by. Gessel says he jumped from the tree and grabbed the goat's collar to help them.
Smithfield police say they got a call from Gessel's parents reporting he was overdue, and from residents reporting a boy struggling with a goat.
"He kind of had his paper-bag sitting in the tree where he was. He was delivering newspapers and he was about halfway up the tree," said Smithfield Police Officer Brandon Muir.
The goat, Voldemort, was impounded by Smithfield animal control officers but has returned home.
Named after the villain of the popular children's series "Harry Potter," Voldemort is normally on better behavior, the goat's owner, Marissa Benson says.
"He's a really good pet, good with kids, a good lawnmower," Benson said.
Voldemort is a mini longhair fainting goat and for sale, his owner said.
Gessel says it was just a strange morning, and one that his classmates won't soon let him forget. They've coined the nickname "Goat Boy" for him, a name which he seems to take in stride.
"People are just like, 'why are you scared of goats?' I'm like, 'that was a freaky goat, I think it's like, possessed or something," Gessel said.
Benson and her family, being the Harry Potter fans they are, have a nickname for Gessel as well.
"He's the boy that lived," Benson said.
Contributing: Associated Press