Basalt officials knew they were going to be dealing with cats — lots of feral cats — in the waning days of the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park. What they didn’t expect was becoming goat herders.
As residents were relocating and some trailers were removed recently, two goats that a homeowner kept in his fenced yard managed to escape. The animals climbed into Basalt’s Hill District and were spotted in the area of The Wilds condominiums and on Sopris Drive.
“They were on the lam,” quipped Town Manager Mike Scanlon. “We’d get goat reports — ‘Hey, we’ve got goats running around.’ We’d respond, ‘We know.’”
Community Safety Officer Danny Martinez said he and a police officer typically would respond to the calls, but the goats would be gone by the time they arrived. (Martinez carries a short rope with him and once lassoed a loose cow that wandered near 7-Eleven during the morning school rush hour.)
The young goats were captured finally after about 10 days when they wandered onto the deck of former Councilman Glenn Rappaport, according to Scanlon. Martinez said Rappaport was able to grab the ropes that were still tied around the goats and secure them.
The owner, a Pan and Fork resident by the name of “Fidel,” was notified and he retrieved them, Martinez said. Fidel was relieved that the goats didn’t end up as a meal for a mountain lion, he said.
As the last of the 37 trailers were being removed or torn down at the mobile home park this spring, the sizable feral cat population was forced to relocate. The Pan and Fork was a longtime safe haven for cats that lived under trailers by slipping through cracks and holes in the aprons or living in sheds.
Volunteers from an organization called Street Cat Coalition eyed the mobile home park in December 2011 for an effort to live trap cats, spay or neuter them, tend to medical issues and ultimately release them. It couldn’t be confirmed Friday if that program was ever launched.
Scanlon estimated there were 50 to 60 feral cats in the mobile home park. Three were captured by volunteers and taken to Colorado Animal Rescue in Glenwood Springs for adoption, and another three will be arriving soon, according to a spokeswoman. They are being assessed for adoption out as barn cats, she said.
Scanlon said most of the cats apparently found new places to live in Basalt, taking advantage of gaps in aprons of other trailers or finding access to sheds.
Roaring Fork Valley resident Rosie Atwater said she was checking out the former trailer park recently and saw three adult cats wandering around. She called to them but they scrambled into one of the three remaining abandoned trailers on the site.
All of the trailers will be off the site soon. The town relocated the residents as part of a project to ease the flooding threat of the Roaring Fork River in that area. Half of the site will be converted into a riverside park. The remainder is eyed for potential development. Most of the site will be raised with fill dredged from the river.