Damage caused by Great Orme goats is landowners’ ‘responsibility’ says council report
Richard Evans, Local democracy reporter
Landowners are responsible for protecting their property from damage from the roaming Great Orme Goats – not Conwy council – warns a new report.
And Conwy will refuse to confine the Kashmir goats using fencing for fear it will become solely responsible for the animals’ welfare.
Councillors will consider a plan to manage the herd with its partner agencies after the animals rampaged through Llandudno, Llanrhos, and Craig y Don during the height of the pandemic.
Working with the town council, Mostyn Estates, Natural Resources Wales, and the RSPCA, the council is looking at new ways to manage the animals to minimise conflict with human neighbours.
Current methods of controlling the goat population and their movements include herding the animals on some occasions, contraception, and relocation.
But the report warns that landowners are responsible for protecting their land and could even be responsible for the animals’ welfare.
The report reads: “The goats of Llandudno have roamed in a wild state for over 100 years and were originally a gift to Lord Mostyn from Queen Victoria. Although once in the ownership of Lord Mostyn, the goats have reverted to a wild state and are therefore now regarded as wild animals.
“No one person or organisation is legally responsible for the goat populations of Llandudno, and they may only become someone’s property if they are ‘confined’.
“As the goats are feral animals, it is therefore not the council’s legal responsibility to keep the goats on the Great Orme by way of fencing or ‘containment’.
“If damage is being caused to adjoining properties, the onus is therefore on those property owners to keep the goats out. A landowner has a legal entitlement to act on behalf of an animal’s welfare if a wild animal is in distress whilst on their land.”
The report also documents how the council considered shooting goats during the 1990s to keep numbers low, only for a public demonstration to stop the local authority.
The report reads: “A working group, comprising Council officers, Countryside Council for Wales, Mostyn Estates, and a local veterinary surgeon, considered the various options.
“It recommended that the population of feral goats be controlled through shooting individual animals, targeting ones that were sick, injured, or very elderly.
“This recommendation was supported by the Great Orme Country Park Working Party and Aberconwy Borough Council’s planning committee but was overturned at full council following a large public demonstration at Bodlondeb.”
The council’s economy and place overview and scrutiny committee will debate issues included in the Llandudno Feral Goats Management Plan on Thursday.
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As someone who lived in Llandudno for many years, I can honestly say that I preferred the goats to some of the residents.They were far better behaved too.