RAGLAND, Ala. (WIAT) — Crystal Garner said her goats don’t eat pumpkins.
She knows, she said Monday, because she’s tried to give it to them. But Garner said that her neighbors in Ragland, Alabama, have accused her family’s goats of destroying their flowers and eating their pumpkins. And according to court records, it’s landed her husband in the county jail.
Garner’s partner, Alexander Tollison, has been sentenced to serve 30 days in the St. Clair County Jail for permitting livestock to roam at large. Tollison’s 30-day sentence had initially been suspended, according to court records, and he was placed on unsupervised probation. Soon, though, Tollison was back in custody, having — according to the court — violated the conditions of his release.
“After an ore tenus hearing,” District Court Judge Alan Furr wrote, “the Court finds that the Defendant has violated his probation by allowing goats to roam at large.”
Garner said that she and Tollison had no issue with paying for any damage their goats may have caused on their neighbors’ property, but she doesn’t believe there was any. Nonetheless, in a bench trial, a judge found Tollison guilty of allowing 20 goats to roam at large and gave him a suspended sentence and unsupervised probation, meaning he wouldn’t have to spend any time in jail as long as his animals were kept on his property.
At that point, Garner said they thought the ordeal was over.
“Then, the day after we got out of court, the neighbor turns around and swears out another warrant,” Garner said.
Garner said that she doesn’t believe any of the goats went onto the neighbors’ property after the initial incident.
“There’s no pictures proving it,” she said. “There’s no nothing. It’s her word against ours.”
Garner said that the neighbors never showed her or her partner any of the damage that had allegedly been caused by the goats, which she said are now kept inside a fence.
“They supposedly ate a flower and pumpkins,” Garner said. “I know for a fact my goats won’t eat pumpkins because I’ve tried to give them to ’em. Now flowers, I don’t know, but they can’t prove it.”
Despite Garner and Tollison’s assertions, Judge Furr sided with their neighbors, revoking Tollison’s probation and ordering that he serve his full 30-day sentence in the St. Clair County Jail.
Garner said Tollison plans to fight the second accusation of allowing the goats to roam at large. He wants a trial by jury, she said.
“It’s preposterous,” Garner said. “Having to take an animal running at large — a goat at that — to a jury trial? We’re the laughingstock of the town.”
Court records show that Tollison has filed an appeal of his sentence to circuit court, a move that should allow for his release from jail until the matter is resolved. As of Tuesday morning, however, Tollison remained in St. Clair County Jail, according to its inmate roster.
Garner said Tollison’s absence has already impacted their family. His aunt died Friday morning, she said, and he won’t be able to attend the funeral. His father had surgery Tuesday, and “he won’t be there,” Garner said.
“This is just crazy,” she finished, her voice cracking for the first time. “People should know that this kind of thing really does happen, and it’s not fair.”