Goat neglected since birth is given 4 new legs and a new life at Pennsylvania farm


Published by LATIMES.COM

Summary generated on August 18, 2020


    It's where Lenny Yourth moved his family from Staten Island, N.Y., after two devastating blows to his life.

    There, just outside of Millerstown, he and his wife, Michelle, started over with a multi-generational family on a sprawling piece of land.

    Born to a goat breeder, Anna arrived in the world during a polar vortex, an arctic freeze in the Northeast that caused record-breaking low temperatures in 2015.

    It's not unusual for farm animals born in the winter to suffer frostbite, Michelle said, but the farmers hadn't cared for Anna well.

    "With frostbite, the circulation goes, and the parts of you that are frostbitten rot off. Anna's legs rotted off on their own," Michelle said.

    Because she had no back legs, she walked on the mid-joints of her front legs.

    "Imagine walking on your elbows," Michelle said.

    Anna lost about 120 pounds since she's been with the Yourths, following a different diet and walking around freely.

    Nearly five years later, the farmer asked around for someone to take Anna, and a veterinarian tech knew just who would take her: the Yourths.

    "Without even seeing Anna, I said yes," Michelle said.

    The farmer described Anna as having no back legs, "And her front legs are all messed up.'".

    "At first, she would run away," Michelle said.

    A New York City firefighter, he had accompanied Michelle to Brooklyn that morning to take their young daughter, Rachel, to a doctor's appointment.

    Michelle and Lenny Yourth strap on Anna's prosthetics.

    They found a home big enough for their four children and Michelle's parents, and it happened to sit on 12 acres of land.

    Michelle wanted to find market goats, animals raised to breed or to be sold for their meat, and rescue them.

    At one point, the family kept two baby goats in their kitchen until they were ready to be outside.

    So when the call came in November about Anna, a goat without two back legs, Lenny said, "Just tell me when I can come by with the trailer."

    They had learned to let the goat build its relationship with them at their own speed.

    It was critical to them that she have a better life than the one she had known, and that meant dealing with no back legs and two front legs that were useless below the knee.

    They took her to the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., to X-ray her front legs.

    Could her front legs be straightened, the Yourths wondered.

    Because she had walked on her front knees for so long, her tendons had locked into place, tucking her hooves up under her legs.

    Three fittings and adjustments later, Anna is walking on four new legs.

    On the Capra Farm - Capra is Italian for goat - the mother of three goats recently died when her kids were just 6 weeks old.

    Anna, who shared the same barn with them, became their surrogate mom.

    "She's unbelievably sweet now - and spoiled," Michelle said.

    "Goats are fun. If you handle them, they're just like dogs. They crave attention; they're unbelievably intelligent," Michelle said.

    Life on a farm just outside Millerstown has breathed new life into their family.

    Michelle works for a truck parts supplier in Harrisburg, and Lenny is an adjunct instructor for the fire training program at Harrisburg Area Community College.