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Goat Rentals Take Off In Seattle On First Day Of Amazon Home Services

caption: Goats graze near Interstate 5 in Seattle.
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Goats graze near Interstate 5 in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/cleverclevergirl (CC-BY-NC-ND)

When Amazon launched its Amazon Home Services this week, the stars of the new initiative were …


Seattle goats, specifically, ready to trim back your pesky shrubbery.

“We bring the goats and unload him,” said Tammy Dunakin, head goat wrangler and owner of Rent-A-Ruminant LLC. “The second they hit the ground, they’re eating. It’s incredible to watch. It’s kind of like watching marbles scatter when you drop them on the pavement. And the goats start eating everything in sight."

And it sounds like ...

Dunakin's goats do work for the city – you may have seen them munching on hills alongside Interstate 5. Others goats have done work for Seattle City Light, clearing brush and opening pathways to steep rocky slopes.

In a statement in 2006, landscape supervisor Betsey Searing explained why City Light chose goats to clear a slope: "The alternatives of clearing brush mechanically or with pesticides were rejected."

"The slope is steep with large, irregular rocks, making it dangerous for people to work safely,” Searing said. “Mechanical equipment cannot reach far enough to do the job. It would require a large amount of herbicide to kill the vegetation and would leave a large mass of dry vegetation that could be a fire hazard. There also could be a danger of overspray reaching adjacent property."

Amazon approached Dunakin to list her service, and she readily agreed.

“You know the hardest part of any business is usually getting customers,” Dunakin said. “I felt like it was a really great way to educate people that this is out there, because it's going to get a huge amount of viewing, and it benefits me and it benefits the industry.”

Dunakin heard from prospective customers on the day of the launch – she said her email just blew up.

“We'll see how many jobs actually come out of that,” she said. But mostly, she was tickled by the newfound fame.

“They actually called me and said, ‘You’re kind of a celebrity in our Amazon office right now because you’re getting so many hits.’”

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