Goats to baa-tle blight in North Richmond on Thursday

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Goats plan to take many bites out of the crime of illegal dumping in North Richmond — and their feast begins Thursday.

City officials in Richmond have decried “astronomically high rates” of illegal dumping in North Richmond in recent years, much of it concentrated in lots that appear abandoned and overgrown with weeds and other nature.

To help tackle the problem, the city has decided to send in goats to eat up the weeds and mulch so that those lots are less likely to invite illegal dumping. Residents plan to join a herd of goats on Thursday in abating weeds at an overgrown lot at 695 Chesley Ave.

The goats, contracted through Bay Area company Goats R Us, will be grazing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. The community is encouraged to stop by. Funds for the herd were secured through the Love Your Block Initiative, a national program providing mini-grants for community improvements, the city says.

To prepare for the grazing event, residents came together on Oct. 31 to pick up trash from the lot — part of a community-wide clean-up effort where 269 residents disposed of 52.62 tons of trash throughout North Richmond.

“Richmond Code Enforcement officers collect on average 12.09 tons of waste from North Richmond every month,” Richmond officials said in a statement. “The trash here is not just sidewalk litter, though. These are known illegal dumping destinations, with trucks from surrounding cities bringing in large amounts of waste every day.”

City officials say Thursdays grazing event will not be the last, as it continues to battle illegal dumping in both Richmond and North Richmond.

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