Goats Slip Past Security Fence Near New York City Bridge

It was a report calculated to send chills through those charged with anti-terrorist vigilance in New York City: Bearded intruders secretly penetrate heavily guarded transportation site.

But it turned out the would-be trespassers were goats imported by the National Park Service to clean up poison ivy and other unwanted weeds at historic Fort Wadsworth, a 200-year-old Revolutionary War rampart on Staten Island near the Verrazano Bridge.

Brian Feeney, a park service spokesman, said the goats are brought down yearly from a farm near Rhinebeck, New York, and escaped about two weeks ago.

According to officials, the dozen goats — or, as the Daily News described them, "weapons of grass destruction" — managed to slip under a metal fence separating the fort from bridge property, without setting off electronic alarms or sensors installed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to guard against intruders.

In a statement, the MTA's Bridge and Tunnel Division said the fence was not actually part of the bridge protection system. Because the animals did not get past a second, more formidable fence, the agency said, "there was no security breach" affecting the bridge that spans New York harbor between Staten Island and Brooklyn.

The goats were spotted by a human bridge guard, rounded up and put back in their pen at Fort Wadsworth.