Farm's goats stolen for 2nd time; reward offered for return


An animal pen in Berks County is once again empty, breaking the hearts of the people who live at the farm.

"They're messing with the family now," said Ericka Ernst, co-owner of the Ernst Christmas Tree Farm in Rockland Township. "Our goats are like kids to us."

The family's two goats, Bubba and Ivy, are missing. Ernst said they were stolen late Wednesday night, for the second time within a month.

"My husband came down to feed the goats. The night before, they were there," Ernst explained, "When they came back down, the goats were gone."

A few weeks back, Bubba and Ivy were stolen in broad daylight. They were found days later, abandoned more than 15 miles away, near Cabela's in Tilden Township.

"Right now, I'm very angry because of what they're doing to the goats," said Ericka's husband, Kevin. "They were terrified for the last two weeks. [They] wouldn't even go in their pens and eat.

The family said the goats are more than farm animals. They are beloved pets.

"My daughter raised them since they had umbilical cords on them, so she grew up with them, sleeps in the barn with them. She had all her senior pictures done with them," said Ericka Ernst.

"She used to come down here, and they'd sit on her lap like a dog," Kevin Ernst recalled. "In the world we live in, it's sad we can't even raise goats."

In the wake of the most recent theft, the family is stepping up security around the barn and scouring farm auctions in search of the goats. They're also offering a $500 reward in hopes that very soon, the empty pen can once again be filled with their "kids."