Vandalism causing damage to goat sculptures around Vevay
The addition of custom and artistic concrete goats around Vevay has sparked community interest – as well as an increase in tourism – but recent acts of vandalism have prompted tourism officials to seek answers, as well as responsible.
Jon Charles Smith, executive director of Switzerland County Tourism, says at least nine of the goats were damaged, most by vandalism and some by accidents.
The ongoing vandalism continues, with some goats damaged as late as Monday evening of this week.
“I’m just sick about it,” Smith said. “Our number of visitors has increased by over 300%, and a travel writer was commissioned to do a feature article for ‘Indianapolis Monthly,’ which brings together all 50 states and 79 countries and it could be unionized because it does part of the Indianapolis Media Group. She wants photos of the goats with the artists and the true story of the legend “Fred the Vevay Hill Goat”. Now, there are very few of us that haven’t been struck.
Smith said the vandalism occurred over a period of several weeks, saying the first was a goat created by the late Ann Farnsley in late July, which was located on Main Street between Red’s Package Store and the Vevay Main Street office. At the time, tourism officials believed it was an accident.
“The real heartbreaker was Ann Farnsley’s goat, which she really devoted a lot of time to,” Smith said. “I think she knew it would be one of her last works. What we thought happened was someone with an SUV or a big truck hit him with a bumper; but I had to move these things, and they’re so solid they’re solid concrete. I don’t even think tapping it with a bumper would have done it, but it was the start. Her goat was repaired before she died. Lou Coghill, the woodworker, was able to repair it before his death. It is now securely stored. She was so upset in the middle of everything she was going through. The number of people walking in and saying, “What’s going on with this? », It’s just sad. Something that has been so successful and so positive. It breaks my heart.
Smith said the Decorated Goats started as a small project, but quickly grew – with more than 100 concrete goats now on order as more people want them for their classes, along with the collaborative effort that Tourism has with the Community Art Center.
“I just don’t see what the point of damaging these goats is,” Smith said. “This is so insane.”
Smith said the goats, as well as the “Veva_” sign where people can pass by the “Y”, were also popular with visitors here.
“There was a group from Houston, Texas that was here, and they took their picture doing the ‘Y’ and they took a picture of the American flag goat in front of the courthouse, and they just took thought that was the coolest thing. They came back and showed me their pictures on their phones, “Smith said.” It makes me furious that this is happening. “
(Editor’s note: The American flag goat in front of the courthouse was damaged due to an accident, not vandalism.)
Smith said Tourism is gathering information and will endeavor to file an official police report this week in hopes the perpetrators can be arrested. Security video from businesses and homes in the area is also reviewed to see if criminals are seen during the vandalism.
“We found our niche, and it’s a really cool niche,” Smith said. “Our number of visitors has increased, from goats and sculpture to everything through word of mouth. It’s just disappointing.
Do you know anything about these acts of vandalism? Contact the Vevay Police Department at (812) 427-3737 or the Swiss County Sheriff’s Department at (812) 427-3636.