NEWBURY — A goat and a donkey escaped their Byfield farm enclosure Tuesday in an innocent quest for knowledge, and grass, at the community library.
Sassy, the goat, is apparently known for her breakouts and led Bradley, the donkey, two houses down to Newbury Town Library in the late afternoon Tuesday.
Youth Services Librarian Kati Bourque was the first to notice the animals outside the library.
"I was standing in my office on the phone," she said. "I turned and I was like, 'That's a miniature donkey.' I was just very struck with there being a miniature donkey outside, and then the goat showed up."
Director Jean Ackerly didn't think there was actually a donkey outside when Assistant Director Erin Ouimet notified her.
"I thought it was a kid in a donkey costume," Ackerly said. "We went out there and we just see this donkey running around the grass."
The donkey ran over to the playground, Ackerly said. "Then, we realized there was this adorable little goat following the donkey."
About 4:30 p.m., Ouimet posted photos of the animals on Facebook and Twitter, writing, "If anyone is missing a donkey or goat, they've decided to visit the Newbury Town Library today and would like to be picked up."
Ackerly called Animal Control with hope of finding the owners and ensuring the safety of the animals.
"At one point, they tried to go over to the Mini Mart but with the cars and everything, they realized this was a safe place," she said, adding that the goat even tried to come into the library.
"It was awesome," Bourque said, adding that a rooster once wandered over to the library from the same farm. "This is why I love working here."
"When you need to get away, come to the library," she said.
Luckily, the owner, Tracey Chareas, soon saw the post, writing, "Oh lord. Yeah that'd be us again."
"It's been a rough week with Sassy the goat breaking Bradley the donkey out and leading him astray twice now," she wrote. "She is a woman of ill repute."
It is possible Sassy's days of breaking free are over, though.
"I believe we have located all her escape routes," Chareas wrote, "so you hopefully won't see them again and Bradley will stop making cameos on community Facebook pages!! Thank God they are OK."
Staff reporter Heather Alterisio can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3149. Follow her on Twitter @HeathAlt.