Founding publisher of JFK Jr.’s magazine caught in bitter goat fued

People with work-from-home horror stories ain’t got nothing on Elinore Carmody, the founding publisher of George magazine, who keeps an air horn by her desk to fend off the marauding gang of breeding goats who invade her property four to five times a day.

Carmody — now the US sales director of European-based Cabana magazine — doesn’t live on a farm. She owns a home in the tony suburbs of Redding, Conn., in Fairfield County, which has become Ground Zero of a bizarre battle over what neighbors say are dozens of goats that wander the neighborhood creating a ruckus and damaging property.

“They defecate on our lawn and eat our shrubs,” said Carmody, who was publisher of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s popular political magazine when it debuted in 1995. “The smell is unbearable,” said Carmody, who left the magazine about a year before JFK Jr. died in a horrific plane crash in 1999.

“The noise they make, especially when they’re breeding, is terrible.”

David Mason, who lives across the street from the goats, agrees that herd of horned beasts — who started multiplying in 2008 — have become a nuisance, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

“I’m not sure people really realize that it’s not just a goat or two out for a cute frolic. There were — and occasionally still are — a roaming pack of anywhere from twenty to thirty, or forty or more goats at a time,” Mason told local newsletter Hello Redding in July.

“During late March and in April, I would have to get up at 5:00 in the morning because the goats would come over shortly after dawn. I’ve been woken up at 5:12 a.m. by the goats clamoring on my front porch to get access to decorative plantings around the porch,” Mason said.

The town has said it would allow up to nine goats on the four-acre property owned by ex-lawyer Nancy Burton. Carmody estimates there are 100 goats by now — a figure that Burton disputes.

“The number of goats vary,” Burton told The Post. “I don’t have 100 goats. I don’t have 80 goats. It’s nowhere near that. It might be half that number.”

Burton, who once worked as an AP reporter and was married to the late New York Times culture editor William Honan, agrees its an issue that local officials have been unable to resolve despite repeated attempts.

She’s petitioned the town to keep a greater number of goats, but has been denied. She’s appealing, she said. In the meantime, she’s been citied for zoning violation and for roaming animal violations.

“I’ve paid a lot of them,” she said of the tickets, which usually run $75 a pop.

The situation got heated in April when the Redding Police Department showed up to Burton’s house with an Animal Control agent demanding to see a goat that had allegedly been struck by a pickup truck. She refused to let the animal control officer onto her property to inspect the allegedly injured goat, resulting in a police summons — and criminal charges, sources said.

She was in court for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

Burton says the ugly incident was the result of a neighbor using an air horn to scare the goats off his land, which startled goats into running across the street into traffic.

State prosecutor Traci Hertzberg said Burton has been charged with cruelty to animals and obstructing an animal control officer. “Beyond this, I cannot discuss the facts of a pending criminal matter.”

“It’s a terrible situation,” said William Haskell, who was just re-elected to the Connecticut General Assembly. “I am trying to get the state to play a bigger roll.”

A source said Hertzberg has pressed Burton to “rehouse” the goats to an animal sanctuary. Burton acknowledged that the prosecutor has offered to drop the charges if the goats were sent to an animal sanctuary. Another provision, she said, is that all the goats be examined by a vet.

Burton, who started her flock in 2008 with a single goat that was sick and needed care, said she is thinking of starting a GoFundMe page to raise money for a relocation. One started by a friend, Tracey Thiel Hansen, has raised $100 and features a photo Burton took of what appears to be seven white-and-brown goats perched on top of a car.

“It’s true the herd expanded and its more than I desired,” said Burton. But she insists the goat are well taken care of, even if they do roam the neighborhood sometimes.

“I love those goats,” said Burton, who feels she’s a victim of “Goat hysteria” in Redding.
Burton also plans to file a lawsuit against some of her antagonists. While she fights to have her law license reinstated she will represent herself.

“I am going to be filing a significant lawsuit in the very near future,” she said, declining to divulge details.

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