Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1000 pounds of Beef or 100 pounds of Goat

The day after our fateful evening before the goat court proved fraught with a little tension. I was greeted by 9:30 a.m. by two neighbors who had been to the village offices to procure further information after the village meeting last night. They offered their support, and reported their morning experience in the office.

Two requested copies of the 1965 village rules that duly permit necessary farm animals. An additional two neighbors requested permits for their "livestock" which primarily are ... wait for it... small rabbits. Those cute fluffy bunnies in their small rabbit hutch are hardly in the same category as a manure accumulating 2000 lbs. horse. Imagine the impact of a couple of rabbits in a coop in a lot as big as football field. Or.. where do you keep the rabbits? I can't see them. Oh - are those the rabbits in that hutch out back by the willow tree?

I put into writing a request for either a permit for my barn to be occupied by two dairy goats, or for two goat permits, whichever they prefer. I offered to pay $5 for an annual permit. Of course, I asked for copies or to view the permit of the sheep farm that contains eleven sheep within the village limits. I just want one like they have.

I believe our town trustees need input that aids in drafting a more reasonable, modern approach to animal zoning. To that end I'm putting together some zoning ordinances that work in other areas, including New York City, Seattle, and Denver, Colorado. My proposed ordinance for the village will include reclassifying female sheep, goats, and neutered goats and sheep, miniature horses, miniature cattle of specified sizes, as small animals (under 150 lbs) rather than livestock on the order of a 800 lbs. or larger cow.

A village neighbor has a Harlequin Great Dane, a magnificent, beautiful dog who is great with children. He's also over 120 lbs. His bark, while seldom heard, is quite loud and intimidating, and he has been known to be the killer of another neighbor's pet ferret. He was not turned in to animal control, out of compassion for the children who own him. Yet, we have laws more restrictive of two sweet faced dairy goats who would rather munch on rose bushes than bite anyone, even provoked. Countless larger dogs, usually the popular labrador mixes, are seen escaped from their village yards, and send the neighbor's outdoor cats up trees for safety.

I'm disbelieving that dairy goats need more restriction than labradors, especially since my alpine goats have never retrieved the neighbor's pet rabbit and dropped it at my feet. Don't misunderstand, I grew up with labradors, and I own two dogs myself.

This is why we have the underground fencing system, because left to his own devices Speed Racer would suffer the fate of Wiley Coyote, without the magical ressurrection effects of animation.

Speed Racer is a pretty good traveler, and a sweet ambassador of canine friendliness, so he attended the children's soccer game last night. Other dogs are usually in attendance. Biscuits, a miniature dachshund was present on Monday night which prompted my children to bring Speedy last night. He lapped up the affection along with bowls of water in the sunshine.

Coincidentally our 7 year old kids' soccer team played the team our village mayor's daughter is on. I saw him and his family on the far end of the soccer field, and thought I should go over and shake his hand after we sparred across the village trustee table the day before. But frankly, I'm pregnant, it was over 80* and I was coaching, which involves much trotting up and down the soccer field, and I just didn't get over there.

The yellow shirted team we played averaged 6 inches taller than my team, which caught the eyes of my team parents. I explained that just by luck of the distribution of children, that team contained more second graders than first graders, and even a few early birthdayed third graders. And then if you add in our two developmentally disabled boys on our team of 9, we end up with slower, shorter, less coordinated children on our team. And I don't mind it one bit! We have great fun at our practices and all of the children who have tried soccer this year for the very first time are having positive experiences and indicate a wish to play again next year.

My husband, a typical protective husband, both carries the heavy net bag of a dozen soccer balls, and made a humorous but snarky comment about the opposing team as we saw their towering stature compared to our wee little team. "Seems the mayor's team is stacked against us here too".

We don't keep score, I reminded him. Not in soccer, not in the barn. Well, maybe just a chalk mark on the barn wall where the goats can read it: Goats 1 - Mayor of Rushville o.
Just a tiny little victory dance on behalf of my children who avoid the painful consequences of cow's milk for their digestion. For one more month, or one more year.

1 comment:

Spoodles said...

I'm so glad the meeting went in your favor. I don't get what the big deal is. Keep us posted about your progress!