After commanding a huge amount of interest among local residents on Facebook during his two days as a fugitive, “Curry the Goat” is no longer destined for the cooking pot. The Bridge, an organization that focuses on finding employment and peer support for those affected by opioid use disorder, announced on Wednesday that Curry is now its official mascot.
In a Facebook post published Wednesday morning, the organization wrote “#goat lives matter! #freecurry Welcome Curry the goat as the Bridge’s new mascot! We are going to reintegrate him to society!!”
Dubbed “Curry” by Facebook users, the goat was originally reported as missing on the morning of Oct. 14. Around noon that day, Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Control posted a message on Facebook that simply read, “HELP!” Attached to the post was an image that elaborated: Beneath a photograph of a goat, the post read, “If you are the owner of this very fast goat, PLEASE call dispatch 459-1493. The goat is evading law enforcement and we could use your help!!”
The goat’s wily evasion captured the imagination of Fairbanks-based Facebook users, who spent the next 36 hours posting updates on the goat’s whereabouts. While the goat was finally captured by members of the public and transported back to Animal Control on Tuesday evening, the legend of Curry continued.
The goat now has its own Facebook page, a small-but-loud horde of fans and there’s even an online petition to have him selected as the official Fairbanks mascot. While that effort may be in vain — as of Sunday the petition has just 51 signatures — the Bridge stepped in and has adopted Curry as its mascot.
The Bridge was founded in May, with funding from the State Opioid Response grants from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. According to its website, The Bridge is a peer-run program, which helps individuals who are in recovery to re-enter society following treatment or incarceration.
KTVF reported the owner as Paul Finch. Finch picked up the goat from Animal Control on Wednesday and told KTVF that the goat was being marketed for meat prior to his escape. In an interview with KTVF, he confirmed that the goat will no longer meet that fate.
“This situation has been fun, it’s been a diversion, it’s been rewarding. And now we need to let him live, but find a cause that’s bigger than all of us,” Finch said. “I work in recovery. Now he’s (the goat) been arrested, he’s been in jail, and I believe that he would be a great mascot for the reentry coalition or the reentry process for people reentering after incarceration.”
A representative from The Bridge did not immediately respond to the News-Miner’s request for an interview. An Oct. 17 post on the “Curry the Goat” Facebook page, however, provided corroboration that the goat is the Bridge’s new mascot and that he is awaiting a pardon from the Mayor of Fairbanks.
“He is now the newly minted mascot of the Bridge program which is a Re-Entry Peer Support for folks after incarceration and addiction, since he is now a gangsta parolee after escaping his death penalty and fugitive status!” the post reads. “We are awaiting his pending pardon from the mayor and there will be ongoing celebrity appearances to further the goodwill, compassion and camaraderie this surprising event has generated!”
The Bridge has set up a fundraiser for the goat’s needs, with the aim of collecting $5,000. The fundraiser can be found online at bit.ly/2oYdzqf. The Bridge is also collaborating with the coffee shop and event space Venue, which is selling Curry-based stickers. The stickers are being sold for $5, and $1 of each sale will go toward supporting The Bridge. They can be found online at CurryTheGoat.com.
Those interested in meeting the celebrity goat are in luck. In honor of its new mascot, the Bridge is holding an event titled “Selfies with Curry,” which will take place 2-4 p.m. on Halloween.
“I’m still a little shy but will be checking in with Peer Support Specialists at The Bridge,” states the event description, written in Curry’s voice. “Bring your phone or camera for a selfie! 607 4th Ave. Across the street from The Children’s museum. Free parking at Sadler’s!”
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.
Correction: This article originally misstated the date of the "Selfies with Curry” event and has since been updated.