Outrage in Lajitas!

The mayor of Lajitas, Texas was recently castrated because of his alcoholism. His name is Clay Henry.

Clay and I became good friends in late 2000 when I visited Lajitas. We bonded, and drank a few beers at the Lajitas Trading Post. What happened to Clay is an outrage.

  Here, you can see many of Clay's friends heading to visit him him after he was mutilated. (Sob!)
If you think this is a joke, you're wrong. Proof follows in various news reports from around the country.
Beer-swilling mayor got suspect's goat

L A J I T A S, Texas - He really got their goat, police say. Jim Bob Hargrove stands accused of attacking and castrating Clay Henry III, the horned, cloven-hoofed mayor of the small West Texas town of Lajitas.

But Hargrove is charged with animal cruelty, not attempted murder, because Clay Henry is a goat.

The mid-sized gray farm animal was elected mayor in 2000, following local tradition. Mayors Clay Henry I and Clay Henry Jr. were also goats. They each achieved fame primarily for drinking beer.

The office doesn't come with any legal powers, local officials note, but the mayor does get his share of free beer from admiring townspeople and visitors.

Police say Hargrove attacked Clay Henry III because he became jealous when he saw the mayor drinking a beer on Sunday, when the region's blue laws prevented alcohol sales.

"He kept saying, 'You know I oughtta go castrate that goat,'" Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said, relating eyewitness accounts.

"And the next morning the goat was found lying with its testicles cut off."

Hargrove was charged with felony animal cruelty, and faces trial later this month.

Clay Henry made a full recovery after local ranchers sutured his wounds. "He's doing fine," Dodson said. "He's still drinking beer."


Political Animal Attacked

By Jim Yardley
The New York Times
Posted August 5 2002

LAJITAS, Texas · This isolated place along the Rio Grande is called the end of the road, but it might as well be the end of the world. The closest commercial airport is five hours away. Cell phones do not work.

There is no municipal government, and the elected mayor has no powers or duties, which is fortunate, because the mayor is a goat.

Not a goat in figurative terms but a real goat, Clay Henry III. He is admittedly a symbolic figure, a mascot of sorts, a publicity tool. He does not involve himself with zoning or ribbon cuttings. He is not a strategic planner.

His claim to fame is that he drinks beer.

Yet anyone who doubts his standing in Brewster County need only come in August to the county courthouse in Alpine, Texas, when a defendant is scheduled to be tried on state felony charges for grievously wounding Clay Henry in a knife attack. Clay Henry has healed, but the sheriff has preserved a piece of his anatomy as evidence. To put it indelicately, Clay Henry was castrated.

"It's serious business to anybody," said the Brewster County sheriff, Ronny Dodson, noting that the defendant could face jail time. "Clay Henry is one of the icons in our community." Of the accused, the sheriff said, "He thought it was a joke." In the southern part of the county, the sheriff noted, people do not think it was that funny.

No, they do not. Clay Henry is a celebrity in Brewster County, a place where about 10,000 people live in an area larger than Connecticut. The breathtaking landscape has been discovered in recent years by artists, yuppies and others looking for a great escape. "They wanted to lynch the guy," said Roger Gibson, who owned Clay Henry's predecessor, Clay Henry Jr. "Clay Henry is an institution in West Texas."

The current mayor is the latest of three Clay Henrys. The most famous, Clay Henry I, belonged to the Lajitas Trading Post and earned a reputation in the 1970s for having a thirst for beer.

Clay Henry III officially became mayor in 2000, winning an election against a field that included a wooden Indian and a dog named Clyde.

Getting their goat in West Texas
Molly Ivins
Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
MARATHON - In the annals of West Texas law enforcement, few episodes rival the recent (well, relatively recent) unfortunate occurrence involving the mayor of Lajitas. As visitors to that border metropolis in the Big Bend are aware, the mayor of Lajitas is an alcoholic goat named Clay Henry.

The incumbent Mayor Henry is the third of his line, making this, we believe, the only democratically elected dynasty in the country.

If you give the mayor a longneck bottle of beer, he'll swig it - just like most of his constituents. The Sober Party ran a canine against him in the last election, but it didn't have a dog's chance.

So first thing one morning just a few months ago, Steve Houston, the county attorney, gets a call from Richard Hill, constable in Lajitas, announcing that they're dealing with a serious situation: Someone castrated the mayor.

A vet is en route at high speed from Alpine, but it's unclear whether the goat will live or not. Local feelings were running high against the perps. Some felt there was danger of a possible lynch mob. Constable Hill got right on it.

As it happened, there was a Mexican maid cleaning one of those houses in Lajitas owned by some rich guy who lives in Houston, and while cleaning the fridge, she finds a bag containing what looks like a pair of huevos.

Thinking nothing of it, she puts the evidence in the garbage, which goes to the trash bin. But after hearing of the dastardly attack on the mayor, she reports the suspicious occurrence to the constable, who then heroically goes through the garbage in the bin until he finds the smoking goat gonads.

Further excellent law enforcement work tracks down first the owner of the house and then the alleged perps, to whom he had loaned it for the weekend. The main alleged perp is from a nearby town with a bad reputation (not Terlingua), and this is where a certain class element enters the story, giving it Dreiserian overtones.

The alleged perp and his friends had done some work for the absentee homeowner, who made his house available to them as a reward. On Sunday morning, they're drinking near the trading post, and one of those rich guys who keep buying up Lajitas was showing around a lady (who might have been a movie star from Hollywood, according to some unreliable sources) - and he wants to show her Clay Henry's talent with the bottle.

But it's Sunday a.m. with no beer for sale, so this rich guy asks the perps if he can get a beer from their stash, and they oblige. Then he takes their perfectly good green-bottle beer and gives it to the goat, which the alleged perp feels is an insult. Why he decided to take his revenge on the goat is unclear, except they were all pretty drunked up, according to several sources.

The perp is charged with torturing an animal and possession of a deadly weapon. County Attorney Houston and District Attorney Frank Brown tried to figure out a way to charge the guy with injury to a public official, which the Lege, naturally, has made into a crime that carries heavy time, but they couldn't get Clay Henry to fit the legal definition of person.

Meantime, Clay Henry has recovered and is drinking again, heavily. Dan Carroll of Lajitas Resort told the Alpine Avalanche, "Clay Henry's health is fine now, although he obviously won't make a complete recovery."


My God, Clay, what do you say when folks say "Clay hasn't got'm any more"?