Cheney's "firefighting goats" help keep surround communities safe during fire season, and now they need some help in return.
The goats at Leshay Goat Rentals help fight fires by eating flammable brush. Their services were in high demand last year, and 2020 was set to be another big year. Co-owner Lester Camp II said that all changed in March.
"COVID-19 in the last month has been devastating for us," Lester said. "A month ago we had 180 days of grazing scheduled, right now we're down to about four days."
Lester and his fiancé Shalene Camp said they're running out of minerals, alfalfa, grazing land and shelter--a critical need on cold nights. The couple said they built small sheds when they started the business that could shelter 70 goats total.
Co-owner Shalene Camp said that's nowhere near enough space at this point.
"Since our grazing season was so absolutely wonderful last year and we knew that this year we were going to be coming into a lot of work, we bred the goats so we'd have enough work to carry on for the next year," Shalene Camp said. "We have approximately 150 with another 30 moms ready to kid."
They'll soon have more than 200 goats to care for and almost no work to help them do that. The couple is also worried about the impact all of this will have on their community once fire season starts.
"Life isn't going to stop. We're still going to have imminent fire danger this summer," Lester Camp II said. "We still have land management that needs to happen, and these goats do a magnificent job."
The couple stressed that they aren't asking for help for themselves. They're thinking about their beloved goats, each one with a name, and how they're going to make it through this.
"We're strong people. We do everything we can on our own as much as we can, Shalene Camp said. "Unfortunately at this time, I feel that we need to step up and ask the community to possibly give something back to us so we can continue to give back to them."