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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Code got your goat?

A reminder to all town, city and county legislators througout the state -- it you intend for the ordinance to cover goats, put the darn goats in the darn ordinance:

A Hancock County judge has ruled that a Fortville town ordinance does not prohibit a local couple from keeping goats in their backyard.

Residents Joshua and Sarah Brown sued the town in June after Fortville officials in the spring ordered them to get rid of their two goats. County Judge Terry Snow ruled Tuesday that by having goats on their property, the Browns did not violate the town's ordinance against keeping farm animals within town limits.

The ordinance, Snow noted, specifically enumerates which animals are prohibited -- without mentioning goats.

Fom my quick reading of the city code, you can't have a goat in the back yard here. It defines farm animals and includes goats. But then it says those animals must be part of an agricultural operation or raised for sale, and it lists how many animals per acre are permitted (and doesn't mention goats in that part). I don't know of many back yards here that are at least an acre. (For the trivia buffs: A football field is about 1.3 acres; 12 high school basketball courts would make a little more than an acre.)

And by the way:

No wild or exotic animal shall be kept within the City without state or federal permits. These animals include but are not limited to bears, wolves, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cougars, alligators, crocodiles, caimans, snakes, and reptiles that are venomous, apes, baboons, macaques or any hybrid of like animal.

Sorry to spoil all your fun.