Judge To Decide Boy's Goat Case
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 10, 2006
BATAVIA, OHIO--A judge will decide this week whether a family is violating Miami Township zoning rules by keeping two goats for their 12-year-old son.
Dale and Patricia Valentine claim that, while they have a number of other animals, taking care of the goats helps their son, David, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Some neighbors complained to the township's Board of Zoning Appeals which said the boy cannot have goats in his suburban back yard, because they violate zoning codes.
Those codes allow dogs, cats, birds, mice, gerbils, ferrets, hamsters, minks, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, turtles, lizards, iguanas, snakes of less than 6 feet and pot-bellied pigs as household pets -- but no goats.
The township took legal action in Clermont County Common Pleas Court to force the Valentine family to get rid of the goats. The family sought an exemption in 2003, but were denied.
After a day-long, non-jury hearing Friday, Judge William Walker said he would issue a written opinion within a week as to whether keeping the goats means the Valentines are violating the zoning rules.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Walker is not addressing the family's argument that keeping the goats would be a necessary accommodation for David's disability. That issue, he said, would be dealt with separately.
Several neighbors testified in support of the family, the Enquirer noted.
"Can boy keep goats?" (Cincinnati Enquirer)
"Judge's choice: Is a goat a pet?" (Cincinnati Enquirer)