CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Martin Salcido is a longtime Taft resident, former city council member, and goat owner.
He says he's had a goat, and other animals, pastured to a tree across the street from his house for some time.
But 2 weeks ago, on July 18th, he says the Taft Animal Control officer, and a Taft cop showed up, and told him "we're going to give you 2 hours to get rid of that animal."
Salcido says he countered, telling the officers, that wasn't enough time for him to find somewhere to move the goat.
But he told the Troubleshooters the officers persisted.
"And if you just move it over here somewhere, things are not gonna go good for you," he recalled.
Salcido continued, saying the police officer asked to see his drivers license, for what appeared to be a simple city ordinance violation.
"They told me that if I didn't show my drivers license, they would arrest me. And I was gonna have criminal charges against me."
Salcido was cited for violation of city ordinance 956.
Taft's Animal Control officer is Kayla Dane.
The police officer involved is Roberto Moreno.
But Salcido acknowledged to the Troubleshooters, this was about something else besides his goat.
"What do you think that's really all about ? It's about information that I'm trying to find out about the city manager," says Salcido.
"I've never seen the goat, and I've been here since 2005," said Denis eHitt, Taft's city manager for 3 years.
She explained officer Moreno's demand, this way.
"I'm not sure other than to make sure that he is actually in fact Martin Salcido. They didn't know. We have new officers. They don't know everybody in town."
Salcido recently filed an Open Records Request for information on complaints made against Hitt.
He claims the incident on July 18th is a form of retaliation that many other residents in town fear.
"These people around here, and there's people I can bring forward, that would say 'if I come and say something, they'll have police harassing me. They'll be after me about any little thing. And I just can't take that."
Hitt further told us the animal control officer answers to the Taft Police Chief John Cornish.
By the way, Salcido was able to move the goat to a different location.
Hitt also told us she would check on the specifics of the city ordinance and get back to us today. She submitted this statement at 5pm today;
As promised when you came to City Hall earlier today, I checked into why Mr. Salcido was given two hours to remove the goat from the City. Our staff had already been by several times and saw the goat on the property. Normally it would be treated like a stray dog or cat with no notice required to take the animal – our staff would arrive, capture the animal and transport it to the animal shelter. For the record, not allowing goats in the city has been on the books since 1931 under ordinance 25. Ratification or making more stringent this part of the ordinance continued under the following ordinances:
Ordinance 286 dated 1966
Ordinance 575 dated 1989
Ordinance 866 dated 2011
Ordinance 956 dated 2016
The code enforcement officer gave Mr. Salcido two hours to remove the goat from the property before impounding it. This was merely a courtesy, but since there was no compliance Mr. Salcido was issued a citation. This was what the officer was referring to when he stated if there was no compliance it would not turn out well. We would either have taken the goat or issued the citation and the officer did not want either.
I hope that this will clear up any confusion as to any of the lawful acts taken on the part of Code Compliance and the police officers. Like any other day they are out enforcing the laws of the City and we would not expect that in doing so would make a news story.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Denise L. Hitt
City of Taft