WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The small village of Wellsville takes pride in their community, and part of that pride is in one of their hometown celebrities, Homer the Goat.
A group in Wellsville is now banding together to keep Homer safe.
There is lots of traffic on the hill where Homes lives. That’s why two bright yellow warning signs were installed this week on Wells Avenue and Third Street, warning motorists to watch out for the goat.
They want to warn drivers that Homer may be near, and they also don’t want the animal captured.
Although accounts vary on how Homer came to live on the hillside above state Route 7, former village police officer Clay Ingram said he first encountered three goats at the side of the highway in late 2001 or early 2002.
According to Ingram, one of the kids fell from the hillside and was killed, after which he saw the other kid and nanny for a few years, then later just the kid, which had by then grown up.
How the kid came to be called Homer is anyone’s guess, but Ingram said goats live to about 18 years, and he estimates Homer to be about 15.
Concern arose this week when Homer began wandering down the hill into town, as he has done from time to time in the past. As people began commenting about Homer being in town, some residents became concerned that he might be hit as he walked down village streets. So, the goat crossing signs were erected.
Residents Cindy Mick and Dolly Brophey had two goat crossing signs made at a cost of $37.50 per sign. They took donations for the effort and ended up with enough money for the signs and feed for Homer.
Neighbors say Homer mapped out a route down the side of the hill to avoid the busy four-lane highway between the hill and the town. His route takes him under the on-ramp to Route 7 at Route 45. He then goes under the viaduct, avoiding traffic completely.
“He’s pretty nimble,” said Wellsville resident Jeff Clark. “It’s amazing how well he can climb, but he has been here for years, and he’s a delight to the town. People know him; he’s as mascot.”
While he seems to live in the wild, Homer has had a helping hand from area resident Mark Allison, who hikes up the hillside and takes feed to the goat on a regular basis. Any extra donations for the signs will go to buy additional feed for Homer.
The Morning Journal contributed to this story.