September 3, 2007 in City

Seattle councilman pitches pet goat plan

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

Mark Adkins judges a pygmy goat Thursday at the Evergreen State Fair. Associated Press
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE – City Councilman Richard Conlin wants to give Seattleites the right to keep miniature goats as pets – a proposal he bills as one small step for sustainability.

Conlin extols the virtues of pygmy goats, which can act as Earth-friendly lawnmowers and weed eaters, provide milk and cheese, and naturally fertilize yards.

Under current land-use code, farm animals cannot be kept on lots smaller than 20,000 square feet. Conlin’s proposal would classify minigoats as a small animal rather than a farm animal and require that they be licensed, just like dogs and cats.

Although goats can be trained to walk on leashes, they would have to be confined to an owner’s property or other property where permission has been given for them to roam.

“We’re not going to have goat off-leash areas,” said Phyllis Shulman, Conlin’s legislative assistant.

Conlin’s office researched health issues and said disease risk is low. Some goats do, however, smell bad.

An unneutered male “does tend to have a smell about him,” said Ray Hoyt, president of the National Pygmy Goat Association. Conlin’s law would require that male goats be neutered, and that all goats be dehorned, a practice Shulman called common.

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