D.C. Government Stalls Capitol Hill Goat Gardeners Over Checkups

It's unclear if Capitol Hill has any livestock to worry about protecting from animal diseases.

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This photos shows four of Eco-Goats' workers.
This photos shows four of Eco-Goats' workers.

A herd of goats scheduled to arrive Tuesday at the historic Congressional Cemetery on Capitol Hill was delayed by D.C.'s Department of Health, which mandated that the environmentally friendly gardeners get a health check-up.

"For the first time in five years we were asked for a health certificate for the herd," Eco-Goats owner Brian Knox told U.S. News.

"It's kind of a formality," he said, "the things you look for are sore mouth and foot rot, which don't affect people at all but are contagious to other livestock."

It's unclear if D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood has any permanent hooved residents.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, keeps records on livestock in all 50 states, but doesn't tally D.C. livestock.

The city's municipal animal regulations specifically mention goats just once, prohibiting them from roaming free.

[RELATED: Goats to Mow Lawn at Capitol Hill Cemetery]

Other city regulations include prohibitions on bringing to D.C. "any diseased or unfit animal" or animals "likely to cause delay in traffic."

Numerous attempts to reach Department of Health Communications Director Najma Roberts for comment Wednesday morning were unsuccessful.

Knox hustled to bring his animals – who live in Annapolis, Md. – to a veterinarian, where they received a clean bill of health.

The goat herd has worked jobs in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Congressional Cemetery assignment will be their first time working inside the Washington Beltway.

Knox spoke with U.S. News Wednesday morning as he arrived with 25 goats at the historic cemetery – the final resting place of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and scores of deceased politicians. They will be joined by around 40 colleagues later in the day.

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