Federal Court Rejects Boy's Goat Case
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 12, 2005
MIAMI TOWNSHIP, OHIO--David Valentine has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The 12-year-old says that raising his two pet goats helps him with his disability.
But the Miami Township's Board of Zoning Appeals says 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.
No way. No how.
And there is no room for exceptions, the township's administrator insists.
"We have an obligation to enforce our zoning codes in a fair way," said David Duckworth. "It applies to everyone, and we can't make exceptions."
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 it was denied.
The Ohio Legal Rights Service filed a suit in federal court on behalf of Valentine's family, claiming the township was violating the boy's rights under federal fair housing laws.
Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith rejected the Valentines' suit, saying that legal standards require federal courts to defer to the township's case that was filed earlier in the county court.
A hearing on that case is scheduled for January 6, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.