The Historical Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill has long been home to the bones of prominent American leaders, but beginning August 7 it will also boast dozens of goats.
"I think it's going to be fun for the whole community," said Paul K. Williams, president of the non-profit association that operates the graveyard.
The nearly two acre plot where the goats will graze for six days is infested with invasive plant species, Williams said, with "a six-foot-tall tangle of weeds and vines going up the trees." He wanted to control the weeds without using chemicals so close to the Anacostia River.
Williams read about the company Eco-Goats offering herbicide-free weed control at a cemetery near Baltimore, he said, and the idea was born.
An eight-foot chain link fence will prevent the herd from climbing atop or pooping on the tombstones of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, former Vice President Elbridge Gerry, the renowned Civil War photographer Mathew Brady and scores of congressmen and veterans buried there.
And an electrified fence will keep the goats from escaping into nearby neighborhoods.
"Ten thousand volts and food on the inside" will ensure no problems, Eco-Goats founder Brian Knox told U.S. News. All of the goats visiting the cemetery are seasoned professionals and are known for their good behavior.
"We use the fencing to focus the goats, but it's also predator control," he said. "In urban environments that tends to mean teenagers and dogs."
Eco-Goats was established about five years ago and charges customers a herd rate of around $375 a day for the Washington, D.C., area. The goats live near Annapolis, Md., but are often on the road for work between May and September. This will be their first job inside the Beltway.
The Historical Congressional Cemetery had its most recent burial last week. Williams says around 25 to 35 people are interred in plots each year, and about 5,000 visitors stop by annually.