No goat on Hampton Beach

This photo of a goat first shared by the Rocky Hill (Conn.) Police Department appeared with an April Fools’ Day Facebook post about the Hampton Police Department buying the animal to sniff out alcohol on the beach.

No, the Hampton Police Department didn’t buy a $64,000 booze-sniffing beach goat.

Many Facebook grazers spotted a recent post announcing the purchase of a goat to track down alcohol hidden in cups on Hampton Beach.

It turned out to be an April Fools’ prank by Hampton resident Marty Pouliot, but some people didn’t realize he was kidding.

“OK. That’s super neat,” Facebook user Andrew Laurence commented. “But I think that there are more pressing issues than snooping (with a goat) to see if people are sneaking booze in their Dunkin cups. I hope that the public relations coup of walking around with a cute goat exceeds the annoyance and violation of privacy of having a goat nosing around your beverages.”

Deputy Police Chief Alex Reno confirmed the police department had not added a goat to its payroll.

Town Manager James Sullivan said he hasn’t received any calls about the goat joke and didn’t hear about it until Monday night.

“There is no such goat that we have purchased,” he said Tuesday.

The confusion began April 1 when Pouliot crafted a post similar to one he saw elsewhere.

He tailored it for Hampton and posted it on his Facebook page.

In his post, Pouliot wrote that the goat, named “Booger,” was trained to sniff out alcohol in cups. He said it was believed to be the first “police patrol goat” in New Hampshire.

“Many people may not know that goats, specifically the Oberhasli breed, have been gaining popularity overseas as the premier patrol animal for many police departments,” the post read.

He claimed the goat purchase was approved by selectmen and paid for through a capital fund, a state grant, a donation from the “Hampton Seafraud Festival” and two bake sales.

The post resembled one on the Facebook page of the Rocky Hill Police Department in Connecticut, which shared photos of an officer posing with a goat as part of its April Fools’ Day prank. The photos were included with Pouliot’s post. That should have tipped some off that it was a joke, because the officer in the photo was wearing a blue uniform. Hampton police wear green.

By Tuesday afternoon, Pouliot’s post had been shared nearly 3,500 times, and had more than 800 likes and almost as many comments.

“I think that most knew it was an April Fools’ joke as intended,” Pouliot said. He said he thought some people would take it seriously, but he was surprised by how many didn’t realize it was fake.

The Hampton Police Association got in on the joke as well when the group shared Pouliot’s post on its official Facebook page and wrote, “A welcomed addition to our ranks.”

The association later revealed in a follow-up comment that it was just a joke.

“April fools everyone!!! We did not get a goat, however, that would be kind of cool,” the post said.

While many enjoyed the humor, some believers questioned the need for such a goat and complained about the cost and waste of tax dollars.

“Awesome that a goat can be trained to do this, but the price tag,” Kathryn Green wrote.

Someone else described the $64,000 cost as “fraud.”

Facebook user Wendy Marois wrote, “Not sure which I’m more embarrassed over, falling for this joke or seriously contemplating filling a cup so I can score a visit from this special officer.”

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