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Loose herd of goats stops traffic near San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square

Goats are frequently used by Bay Area transit agencies to trim the grass and prevent brush fires. | Courtesy Faba-Photography/Getty Images

Six weeks after a few escaped goats ran around San Francisco’s Rincon Hill during the middle of the day, a larger group was observed on the Larkin Street stairs adjacent to Francisco Park in Russian Hill.

Video posted to Nextdoor on Thursday afternoon shows San Francisco Police Department vehicles blocking Bay Street as impromptu goatherds escorted the animals out of the roadway and back into the park. Packed in a dense group, the two dozen or so goats appear fairly calm, unlike the liberated individuals bounding around Downtown in March, but the incident still brought noonday traffic to a brief halt. An off-camera dog, likely excited by the possibility of having a group of domesticated animals to herd, whimpers with excitement.

“They were gathered up with the help of the SFPD and a person carrying a bale of hay on his back leading them back up the Larkin stairs,” Nextdoor user Stephen Hing said in the post, adding that the animals left a trail of green droppings “all the way down to Beach Street.”

If accurate, that would imply the goats got as far as Ghirardelli Square. The Standard has reached out to the San Francisco Police Department for comment.

This wasn’t the Bay Area’s only episode of a large escaped animal this week, as a pony was spotted near the Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday.

Goats are frequently deployed by Bay Area transit agencies to nibble the grass alongside rail corridor rights-of-way. As voracious eaters capable of climbing very steep slopes, they’re an efficient way to pre-empt summertime brush fires that can delay trains and wreak havoc.

Beyond their utility, goats are widely popular in San Francisco. In February, a herd walked the proverbial runway in a Valentine’s Day fashion show at Union Square.

Astrid Kane can be reached at