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Philadelphia Area Cemetery Hires Unconventional Landscapers: Goats!

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The Eco-Goats nosh on plants at West Laurel Hill. (credit: West Laurel Hill Cemetery)

The Eco-Goats nosh on plants at West Laurel Hill. (credit: West Laurel Hill Cemetery)

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By Chelsea Karnash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a sight that’s more suited to the Rocky Mountains than the Philadelphia suburbs: A tribe of goats has arrived at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.

The creatures aren’t there to frolic in the sunshine, however – they have a serious job to do. And some serious eating.

Commissioned by the cemetery from the Maryland-based company Eco-Goats, the animals are being used to groom a burial section called Nature’s Sanctuary. West Laurel Hill says it didn’t want to use lawnmowers or other machinery to cut the grass, so they turned to a more eco-friendly solution: goats.

“In keeping with eco-friendly practices, we chose our furry friends to eliminate invasives which can cause the natural site to be unsustainable,” explained Deborah Cassidy, Director of Sales, Marketing and Family Services at West Laurel Hill in a release.

Officials at the cemetery also explain that the animals will help the landscape “evolve naturally over time” by eating undesirable plants like Japanese thistle and poison ivy.

“Some plants are toxic and some just don’t seem to taste good to them. Many of the plants they will not eat are desirable native plants but some are less desirable,” says Eco-Goats owner Brian Knox, who started his traveling business back in 2008.

Brian Knox, owner of Eco-Goats and Adam Supplee, Landscape Architect with KMS Design are helping with the Nature’s Sanctuary Restoration Project. (credit: West Laurel Hill Cemetery)

Brian Knox, owner of Eco-Goats and Adam Supplee, Landscape Architect with KMS Design are helping with the Nature’s Sanctuary Restoration Project.
(credit: West Laurel Hill Cemetery)

According to West Laurel Hill, visitors are invited to stop by and watch the goats — who will be returning to the cemetery each spring and fall – graze. But although these critters might be cute, passersby won’t be allowed to get too close.

“Visitors are not allowed to pet the goats,” says Priyanka Setty, a marketing assistant and program coordinator for Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill. “They are fenced in in the work area.”

For more info on West Laurel Hill, click here.

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