A local woman was instrumental in the capture and safe return of a runaway goat on Monday.
Dawsonville resident Maria Paris was driving on Shoal Creek Road with her miniature dachshund Monday afternoon when the dog became agitated.
Paris noticed the cause of her dog's excitement was a billy goat in front of the Dawson County courthouse. She sought help from Dawson County Sheriffs Deputy Thurmond Atkins who was working security inside the building. Atkins initially doubted the womans claims until the goat appeared and began ramming its horns on the glass walls, according to Paris. Atkins called for back-up.
"He really didn't believe me, Paris said. (Then) he told me not to let it in.
Paris, assisted by Theresa Garmon, who works at Dawson County Middle School, corralled the animal in an area near the parking lot.
Earlier, Dawson County Chief Tax Appraiser, Kurt Tangel, was working quietly in his office when he heard a goat-like noise.
"The first time I heard the noise, I thought it was my imagination," Tangel said. "The second time I asked Sallie [Ledbetter] if someone had a ringtone that sounded like a goat."
Before Ledbetter could respond, Tangel saw the animals furry tail and realized it was, in fact, a goat outside his office window.
"It was hilarious," he quipped. "It was incredible to see a goat at work."
Dawson County Sheriffs Deputy Randy Moss grabbed the goat by its horns while Deputy Randy Harkness assisted.
"No one had any rope, but I had a belly chain in the trunk of my car, so we attached the belly chain to the goat's collar," Harkness said.
A belly chain is a security device used as a safeguard against inmate escapes during transport or courtroom appearances. It consists of a chain around the waist that attaches to a prisoners handcuffs or ankle shackles.
While the goat had no prior criminal activity, its furry face was familiar to law enforcement.
"This wasn't his first rodeo," Harkness said with a smile.
Officers named their new mascot, Johnnie, and secured it to a post while its owner was notified. The goat was later remanded to a holding cell for food and water.
No longer on the lamb, it was eventually picked up by its keeper.
As he approached his vehicle, Dawson County Clerk of Courts, Justin Power, waved and said, Baaa-aaa-bye.
When asked for his thoughts on the quick actions of the court services staff under the supervision of Maj. Brandy Branson, Sheriff Billy Carlisle issued an email statement.
"It's hard to know what to say on this," Carlisle wrote. "This just shows that the officers are tasked with all different kinds of situations on a daily basis, and no matter what that task may be, they are willing to jump in there and do whatever needs to be done. But who would have thought that they would have to take a goat into custody at the courthouse. They have taken a lot of people into custody during court, but never a goat. This is a first."