Thieves nab Chilliwack goats

RCMP investigating the theft of three goats with the help of Agri-Watch

Goats at play in a field on Lickman Road.

Goats at play in a field on Lickman Road.

Ria Rumph wants to send a message to the people who stole her goat on Saturday night.

“I want to let them know that they’ve been seen,” she says. At least two men were noticed sneaking around her farm and loading up her goat. Chilliwack RCMP confirmed they are working on the case, with the help of the Agri-Watch program.

“We’re aware of this, and we take it seriously,” says Corp. Mike Rail. “This is livestock.”

Rumph has had three goats stolen in the last few weeks, causing local farmers to worry that more goat thefts are on the horizon.

“Two weeks ago, two went missing during the day,” Rumph said. And then on Saturday night, her neighbour heard the goats “screaming” and looked out in time to note some pertinent information about the men and their vehicle.

The theft has shaken Rumph, as she worries about the fate of her goats and whether they are being treated properly, or if they’ve already been slaughtered. She hopes they’ve been treated humanely.

It’s a heartbreaking theft that goes beyond the obvious financial losses. Rumph has been raising goats for the last 13 years, at the corner of Lickman Road and South Sumas. Her venture with goats follows years of dairy farming, both here in Canada and in Holland.

The milk from her herd goes just down the road, to Smits & Co.w Farm Cheese, where it’s turned into delicious cheeses.

Goat cheese has been popular for decades, but both goat cheese and meat are becoming more desirable than ever. Meat is in high demand, for its taste and because it’s lower in cholesterol. B.C. goat milk is very popular across Canada, and highly sought after. Goat meat is popular in many different ethnic dishes, and goats often sell for a higher prices around holidays, including Ramadan. But that was more than a month ago, and there are no other holidays right now that Rumph is aware of.

It’s difficult to find goats once they’ve been stolen.

Rumph’s goats don’t have tattoos, and goats are generally not tagged.

“I would know them,” she says, if she saw them. But the only official markings would be the numbers on the chains around their necks.

This is not the first time goat thefts have worried local farmers. Back in November of 2010, about 70 goats in total were stolen from various farms around Chilliwack. Half of them belonged to now-retired goat farmer Susan Barker. And half of those goats were pregnant at the time.

“The police are pretty sure who stole mine,” Barker says. “But nothing was ever done.”

Goats range in price from $150 to $500, depending on numerous factors such as their heritage, their use, and their age.

She said thieves who take farm animals for consumption are risking more than theft charges. They don’t know the history of the goat, whether it’s pregnant or not, or whether it’s sick and on antibiotics.

But that seems not to matter to those willing to take that risk.

“There is a large demand for goat meat and a big shortage,” Barker says. “And then there are some people who just get the pleasure of stealing.”





Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Madalyn Clempson, 18, of Chilliwack sings ‘Hiney Yamin Ba-im.’ She won the Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music award at the Performing Arts BC Virtual Provincial Festival. (YouTube)
Chilliwack youth bring home awards from provincial performing arts festival

Chilliwack’s 18-year-old Madalyn Clempson ‘a bit stunned’ to have won Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read