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Goat DNA at center of lawsuit between neighbors

Two neighbors near Tampa, Florida, are embroiled in a court battle over the parentage of four goats.

We’re not kidding.

The kids in question are the progeny of Country Caprines Ace, a registered Nigerian dwarf goat, according to breeder Heather Dayner.

Kristine Hedstrom, who purchased four kids born last year to two dams owned by Dayner, is not so sure. 

In March, she told the American Dairy Goat Association that two male “billy” goats were in her neighbor’s pen with the dams. As a result, the agency is now refusing to register the kids unless DNA evidence of their sire is provided.

“I didn’t know that I shouldn’t have mentioned that,” Hedstrom now says.

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Nigerian dwarf goats originated in West Africa and can be raised for milk production or as  pets, according to Zoo Atlanta. They are popular because they need less space than standard size goats and their milk is high in protein and  butterfat.

After multiple calls, texts and emails to Dayner and complaints to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Hedstrom has taken the matter to court. 

She wants hair samples from Country Caprines Ace to prove her kids’ paternity or she wants her purchase price of $900 plus damages back. 

“This has not been a pleasant experience,” Hedstrom said, adding that she will represent herself in small claims court. 

She says she became worried after a friend’s goat, also purchased from Dayner, developed health issues.

Her goats were still at Dayner’s farm, but she decided to take them at a time when Dayner was not there. 

She later filed a complaint that Dayner’s goats were being mistreated and living in “deplorable” conditions. 

Following about a month of investigation, deputies found no evidence of mistreatment or poor conditions. The animals on Dayner’s property were well fed and had access to hay, water and shade and had been examined by a veterinarian.

Dayner told deputies she is willing to reimburse Hedstrom’s money, but wants the goats returned. She also said she wants Hedstrom to stop calling and texting her, according to investigating deputies. 

Dayner did not directly address the paternity issue, but complained to deputies that Hedstrom had trespassed when Hedstrom took the baby goats before they could be vaccinated.

After examining Hedstrom’s goat, a veterinarian told deputies  the health issues reported by Hedstrom’s friend were normal in baby goats and easily treated with vaccinations. 

Deputies declared the investigation inactive and told Hedstrom her complaints regarding the paternity of her goats were a civil matter.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for July 28.