A galloping goat with an eye for adventure left villagers in stitches – by escaping and taking a tour of the area.
Residents in Water Orton took to Facebook to ask: “Is this anyone’s goat?”
And it quickly transpired that the animal – called Butter, with a brother named Peanut – belonged to Martin Crouch, a local jack of all trades who has become well-known for his pet collection.
A dog walker by profession, Martin has become a local celebrity as his pets – which include goats, horses and chickens – keep taking themselves for walkies.
His chickens have also been spotted around the village in the past.
The 37-year-old is not a farmer – he makes his living by dog walking and cutting lawns – but he told BirminghamLive he had a long-time fascination with animals.
“I’ve got horses, chickens, ducks, goats, ferrel cats, a bit of everything,” he explained. “I’ve been interested in animals from a young age. All of my family are into sport and I never was. I was always into animals.”
Martin said he got his first horse at the age of eight and since then the “empire has got bigger”.
He was born in Coventry and moved to Water Orton when he was a couple of years old. He has stayed in the area ever since.
He said his animals were “always wondering around” and had even made it as far as the village centre.
Residents thought the latest escape effort by Butter was hilarious, with one saying they were “crying with laughter”.
One local immediately wrote: “Martin is this one of yours?”
While another tagged him and said: “You’ve got an escapee.”
Another replied: “Not again.”
And one resident wrote: “Oh Martin, they’re all escape artists.”
Fortunately, Martin saw the funny side of the situation.
“If it ain’t my horses it’s my chickens, if it ain’t my chickens it’s the sheep and if it isn’t the sheep its the goat,” he wrote back. “Keeping Water Orton rural since 1983.”
The animal lover told BirminghamLive that Butter had been recovering from a broken leg after getting into a fight with another of the 12 goats he owns.
“He must be doing well if he wandered all the way down there though,” Martin added.
“I saw it on Facebook and went running down with my bucket of goat food to get him back.
“I had to do it with my horses the other night. I went out with a bucket and they were all coming from different directions.”
Martin said lots of people liked to visit his animals at the green space off Sailsbury Drive in Water Orton across the railway tracks.
As well as his pets and looking after five-year-old Freddie with partner Chelsea, his day job keeps him busy enough. He employs people to help him walk 19 dogs a day and mow a staggering 45 lawns a week.
“It started out as a word of mouth sort of thing. I’ve never really had to advertise,” he explained. “And as you can gather, quite a lot of people know me.”
And if Martin had to be pushed on his favourite animal?
“Well they all do my head in from time-to-time but when things are going well I suppose horses have always been my main pet,” he said.
“I’ve three of my own and there are a lot of others we have rescued. There are four in one field and five in another. Then I look after my mate’s five in another field so there are quite a few knocking about.”
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