published Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Whatever happened to ... Kudzu-eating goats fall victim to budget cuts

by Cliff Hightower
Goats graze Friday in a pen beside Sugar's Ribs near the ridge cut.
Goats graze Friday in a pen beside Sugar's Ribs near the ridge cut.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

Question: Whatever happened to Chattanooga's kudzu-eating goats?

Answer: They were ditched after city budget cuts.

The lovable, frolicking kudzu-eating goats first came into the public eye in 2006 when the Chattanooga City Council OK'd a goat handler for the Department of Public Works.

The city found one, and each year for almost four years the goats were trucked to the steep sides of Missionary Ridge and staked out to chomp on hard-to-reach kudzu.

"They worked, and they worked effectively," Public Works Administrator Steve Leach said.

At one point the city held a goat academy at Greenway Farm to show residents how the animals did their part to keep the invasive species under control.

The goats gained media attention, at one point being featured in an article in The New York Times.

But there is no indication the city will ever bring back goats to munch on kudzu, though some would be happy to see that.

"I'd love to see them come back," Leach said.

A few goats still can be seen now and then atop the ridge. Sugar's Ribs has four goats that graze the ridge behind the restaurant.

This update was written by staff writer Cliff Hightower. Contact him at or 423-757-6480. To suggest a topic for Whatever Happened To ..., email

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