SALT LAKE CITY — A half-dozen baby goats that disappeared overnight from a ranch in unincorporated Salt Lake County were back at home less than 24 hours later, their owners said.
"We're just in shock. We cannot believe they're found," said Cross E Ranch co-owner Dalon Hinckley. "They were all starving, but they're all fine and back home, so wow, what a miracle!"
Early Monday morning, Hinckley woke up to find a four-wheeler in the road. He believes thieves tried to steal the ATV that needs new parts, but couldn't haul the vehicle away and made off with the kid goats instead.
After a farm worker who feeds the goats called Hinckley about 7:30 a.m. to say their pens were open, Hinckley searched around the cattle ranch but could not find the six Nubian goats. Dwarf-sized, with floppy ears, the group together is valued at $1,200 to $1,400, Hinckley estimates.
A woman texted the ranch phone at 4:45 p.m. to say that she had found the goats in her backyard in the Glendale neighborhood in Salt Lake City, where Hinckley retrieved them, he said.
The group includes a 3-week-old, Mila, a runt who was given CPR after her heart stopped at birth and defied the odds to survive, Hinckley said. Four of the goats were born in the same litter.
The six shared a pen with a baby pig, Ollie, who livens up in the goats' company but was left behind when his pals were taken.
"He's been kind of just moping around," Hinckley said earlier in the day.
"I don't know why someone would steal them. it seems like a strange choice," Hinckley said in a phone interview while shopping for a new security system at Home Depot. "You're not going to get very much meat off of that. You're not going to raise it — they're bottle fed four times a day."
The ranch operated by Hinckley and his sister, Heather Limon, hosts a baby-animal festival each spring.
Hinckley said he has heard reports from other homeowners nearby about thefts and believes they may be related.
Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke said his agency was in the early stages of its investigation Monday. Lohrke said he could not recall the last time his department received a report of missing goats.
The farm has an existing security system, but it mostly monitors the inside of buildings, Hinckley said.
Contributing: Adam Sotelo