DADE CITY — When Ruel Green left his pasture Tuesday night, he had 15 healthy goats. When Green checked on them the next morning, the scene before him was horrifying.
Thirteen of his goats had been shot. Eight lay dead, and four more were mortally wounded and suffering, including one named Rebecca and another named Double Trouble, said Green, 77. A Pasco County sheriff's deputy put the four out of their misery, a sheriff's report said.
One goat had been shot in the hip but is expected to survive.
Another, one of the kids, was found by a deputy suckling on its dead mother.
Green and two neighbors buried the carcasses in a hole they dug with a tractor.
The Sheriff's Office tallied Green's loss at $1,700, though Green said he wasn't counting on the goats for money. Goats are relatively inexpensive: A small one is worth about $75 and a large one about $120, Green said.
"I don't raise the goats for profit," he said, "I just raise them for the enjoyment of being with them."
The shootings were the latest in a series of attacks on his animals, said Green, a Tampa-area resident since 1968 but originally from Jamaica. In 2009, when he bought his 2 ½-acre pasture, he had 59 goats.
Since then, he said, his goats have died of sickness and brutality. Goats have also been poisoned, he said.
Green said a goat was killed two weeks ago. He did not search that carcass for bullet holes, but said the goat had been healthy the night before.
All this, he believes, is an ongoing attempt by someone in the neighborhood to intimidate him.
"I know exactly why they're doing this," Green said, "because they do not want me as a black man on this property, in the neighborhood."
He said he has no plans to leave.
"That will never happen," he said. "Over my dead body. … They're going to have to kill me."
Sheriff's records show there have been at least two other calls to the pasture, on Sparkman Road, related to animals since 2009.
The Sheriff's Office said Friday it could not say whether this week's shootings were racially motivated. Detectives did not name a suspect, but said an investigation is under way.
As for Green's next move, he said he plans to buy more goats, and maybe some cattle.
Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or [email protected] Follow @josh_solomon15