Animal control officers rescued two goats from the Garden State Parkway. They turned out to be sheep.

TINTON FALLS, N.J. — It became pretty evident Thursday why a decoy goat wasn’t helping rescuers nab two wayward “goats” that spent the last two months cruising the Garden State Parkway.

“They were sheep and that was a goat,” said John Bergmann, director of Popcorn Park Zoo who helped with the rescue the two animals.

Animal control officers Thursday morning captured what turn out be two sheep — a white one and a black one — that have been spotted near mile marker 99 since Labor Day.

But that’s not the only surprise: One of the sheep is pregnant.

The Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey’s Monmouth County Branch first got calls about “goats” roaming the southbound parkway around Labor Day. Officers weren’t able to get close enough to the creatures to see their long tails, which would have been an immediate giveaway that they were dealing with sheep, not goats, Bergmann said.


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Calls about the sheep tailed off, which led officers to believe the “goats” had been claimed by their owners. But the calls resumed about a month later, this time with the animals being spotted on the northbound side of the parkway, again around mile marker 99.

Bergmann said animal control officers had spotted a hole in a chain-link fence that led to a farm. They widened the hole so the animals could duck through. That’s exactly what happened Wednesday morning when the “goats” appeared in the farmer’s field.

But animal control officers still needed to corral them, Bergmann said.

Taylor Fencing donated a 10-foot by 6-foot dog kennel, in which officers put food in hopes of further containing the “goats” in the farmer’s field, Bergmann said. The property owner was able to capture one of them, which turned out to be the pregnant white sheep.

The black sheep took a little more coaxing to get into the pen. Bergmann said he thinks the black sheep is the white sheep’s daughter because of their close relationship.

Both animals will be quarantined for 60 days at the Humane Society’s Tinton Falls location, Bergmann said. The sheep were filled with ticks, but otherwise seemed healthy. They feasted on the grass during their time along the parkway.

They’re sharing a pen with two pot-bellied pigs, Babe and Napoleon, for the time being. Once the quarantine is complete, Humane Society staff will decide whether to keep them there or move them to Popcorn Park to be with other sheep.

Bergmann said he doesn’t expect owners to come forward for the sheep since no one called to report them missing for two months.

As for names, they don’t have any yet.

“We’re going to give them a chance to settle down and get to know their personalities,” he said.

Follow Susanne Cervenka on Twitter: ​@scervenka

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