POCA, W.Va. -- Jim Caruthers is known in the city of Poca as the mayor with goats.
Caruthers, 68, has allowed goats to roam his family farm for years. He considers them his children and has showcased them in various parades and festivals, including Poca's Heritage Day Parade in late-September.
The six pygmy goats are not milked, nor are they raised for their meat. They're just pets and unlike many household pets, they listen to every command.
He shakes an old Gatorade bottle filled with corn to lure the goats into their pen or back on his property. When they hear the rattle, they come running.
"These goats love corn," Caruthers said. "They never quit eating it. I have six goats and four feeders so I have to be quick because they do fight over the corn."
There are five females and one male. All six are related in some way. White Cloud is the grandmother of the group. She is estimated to be about 9 years old. The others are Bernie, Sarah, Jesse, Piper and Frisky. Frisky and Sarah are sisters. Sarah is Bernie's mother.
Caruthers said Bernie was neutered at a young age. He said male pygmy goats have a strong odor and tend to urinate on themselves to attract the opposite sex. Once neutered, male goats will not get the stench.
Although Caruthers has taken a liking to all of his goats, he seems to have found a buddy in Bernie. Bernie's twin died at birth. Sarah was considered too young to give birth and Caruthers believes Bernie was born premature and that explains why he is a little "slow in the head."
"Bernie is pretty laid back," Caruthers said. "He is not as sharp as the rest of them and when I shake the corn, he almost always brings up the rear. He is a little mischievous and has ate a $750 rent check and the instructions of a storm door I was going to install. Bernie will sometimes sneak up behind me and follow me right into my home.
"He likes to get in trouble but I still love him."
Bernie recently rode through the Heritage Day Parade.
"You should have seen him. He was the hit of the parade," Caruthers said. "He rode in a cage on the front of my tractor. The kids were feeding him everything although gummy bears seemed to be his favorite.
"I've always said in politics that if you have ugly kids, you should get a goat," Caruthers laughed.
Caruthers' family has owned his property for more than 200 years. The property sits on the edge of the city limits and near the city's smokestacks. Caruthers said parts of the property were sold throughout the years but still has several acres for his goats to graze on.
"There has always been something here," Caruthers said. "My father had cows and pigs. When I was 5 years old, I gave $1.75 to a horse trader who was more like a broker and told him to bring me something back. He brought me a goat and I have had many goats on my property since."
Caruthers served in the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. He was part of the infantry when he went in and eventually became a welder.