Livestock definition central to domesticated Stanley the goat

·3 min read

No one wants to butt heads on this unique story.

Tiny council discussed the ongoing matter of Stanley the goat at a recent committee of the whole, addressing one resident’s concerns in keeping her emotional support pet and best friend by her side.

Following a complaint to the municipality last month, Tiny resident Jo-Anne Miller was informed that the goat she rescued as a six-week-old kid from a dairy farm near Craighurst was illegally kept on her Cawaja Beach neighbourhood property, facing $25,000 to comply through municipal red tape if Stanley wasn’t removed by month’s end.

An online petition of over 7,000 supporters pushed for a solution which would see Stanley and Miller – who has a doctor’s note stating the goat is her emotional support animal assisting her battle with depression – living together without threat of separation; as Stanley has been de-horned with no way to defend himself, returning him to another herd of goats would be problematic. The deadline was extended as the township informed Miller to file for a minor variance to the committee of adjustment.

At the council meeting, chief municipal law enforcement officer Steve Harvey spoke in general terms about the specific obstruction.

“Farm animals are prohibited under our zoning bylaw, and are not permitted in a residential property,” Harvey explained.

“When we receive a complaint of this nature, then we send a typical letter advising that there is a breach of the zoning bylaw and request compliance. That’s where complaints or concerns regarding farm animals – such as goats on a residential property – currently go towards.”

Planning and development director Shawn Persaud noted that the municipal zoning bylaw was “a black-and-white document”, which site-specific zoning bylaw amendments could help to deal with grey areas.

“The zoning bylaw allows livestock in a barn, and a barn is only permitted in certain zones; so an agricultural or rural zone for example. To complement that, the municipality also has an animal control bylaw that prohibits livestock on residential lots; it’s similar to the backyard chicken issue that the municipality is also considering right now through a temporary use bylaw.

“We do appreciate that Stanley is not living in a barn; he’s living in the house. That’s where the grey area exists,” Persaud added.

Both Coun. Gibb Wishart and Cindy Hastings affirmed support for Stanley as a domesticated animal.

Coun. John Bryant questioned if keeping Stanley removed from other goats and confined to a house was a proper ethical and hygenic decision given his species.

“I’m sure you can be as diligent as you wish,” said Bryant, “but to have a livestock in your house over time – I have trouble with kids, just trying to keep up with kids – but with goats, at some point I think it’s going to go downhill despite the best intentions.”

Wishart responded that other exotic animals had been accommodated in residences, adding that “you can domesticate certain things and then they fit.”

Mayor George Cornell inquired if, through council and staff support, an extension of the notice period for a fair resolution would be likely; Harvey replied that it was indeed the intent of staff.

Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma summed up the discussion by stating, “staff is working with the resident to make them compliant with our zoning bylaws, which I think is the acceptable route. Those bylaws are in place so that things don’t get out of hand, and obviously we deal with one-offs like this in the appropriate manner.”

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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