YEAR IN REVIEW RANDOM: Cletus the Viral Goat turns his life around after getting out of jail
Prior to April 2022, Cletus the Goat was living a relatively obscure goat life in Harrisburg. Aside from a few neighbors on Deacon J. Simmons, nobody really knew about Cletus.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Cletus had the week from hell, breaking out of jail twice and kicking it in the Boddie projects and Carrington Woods, in the process becoming Milledgeville famous.
The legend of Cletus all began on Thursday, April 14, when Animal Control was called out to Deacon J. Simmons Road after Cletus kept breaking out of his little fence. Cletus’ owners weren’t very equipped to handle goats and weren’t very knowledgeable about goats, and they actually thought that Cletus was a female, even though Cletus has a really long beard. After some wrangling and wrestling, Animal Control Senior Officer Summer Bilbrey was able to corral Cletus and transport him from Harrisburg to Animal Control headquarters on Linda Drive, which for many years was the county jail.
Cletus was put out in the old “jailhouse yard,” not far from the basketball goal where inmates used to hoop. That Saturday morning, however, Bilbrey arrived to work, looked up and said “where the (blank) is Cletus?” Cletus somehow escaped the 12-foot-tall fence topped with barbed wire. Not long after, the calls stared coming in, and Cletus’ picture started showing up on Facebook. Cletus actually made two journeys that Saturday. First, he hit up Carrington Woods and eventually decided to come back home. Bilbrey spotted him at the edge of the Animal Control property and moved in. A passing car then rode by and honked the horn, and Cletus was spooked, and Bilbrey lost her opportunity. Cletus then cut through the Graham Homes/Boddie projects and came out on Jefferson Street.
Cletus apparently is a street smart goat, though, and he used the sidewalks and never really had to dodge any traffic. Bilbrey then spotted Cletus at Lee Loans, cattie corner to Northside Baptist Church on North Jefferson Street. Cletus wasn’t ready to go back to goat jail, however, and it turned out to be a two-hour ordeal. Bilbrey almost had Cletus lured in with some Oreos at one point, but another motorist drove by and honked the horn, and Cletus spooked once again. Bilbrey persisted, however, eventually getting a hold of Cletus’ horns and loading him back up.
On Monday, the story appeared to have a happy ending, and a new home was found for Cletus way out in the boonies. It was a sprawling goat farm with nothing but female goats.
Cletus was very happy when he was moved to his new home, and things were finally looking up for Cletus, but then he screwed it up.
By Tuesday morning, however, the owners of the farm had had enough of Cletus, and he was returned to Animal Control. Not wanting to risk another escape, Animal Control put Cletus in an isolation cell, which was padlocked with an extra long chain. But, Cletus just saw this as a challenge and escaped from his new cell, too.
"Luckily, a citizen that lived near the old (Animal Control building where Cletus' goat jail cell is) came and told me before I left work. He said that all he heard was 'BANG BANG BANG' and then a goat appeared and was running loose,"Bilbrey told Baldwin2k News in an exclusive interview.
Fortunately, the legend of Cletus has a happy ending. A family out on Prosser Road, one experienced in dealing with incorrigible goats, volunteered to take on Cletus. After several weeks of pushing the limits at his new farm and still acting like an outlaw, Cletus eventually settled down and accepted life on the farm.
During the summer, Cletus really took a big step to becoming a respected member of goat society, when he became a father to two beautiful baby goats – Charlotte and Cletus Jr., who everybody on the farm calls "CJ."
Image courtesy of the "Cletus the billy from Milly" Facebook page
Let it be said that Cletus the Viral Goat is an inspiration, proof that it's never too late to turn your life around, despite whatever obstacles life throws your way and the amount of hell you've raised and the amount of times that you've screwed up.