Judge To Decide Whether Township Must Allow Boy's Goats As Reasonable
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 30, 2006
BATAVIA, OHIO--A Clermont County judge will hear arguments to decide whether a couple should be allowed to keep goats as a reasonable accommodation for their son's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Clermont County Common Pleas Judge William Walker ruled earlier this month that Dale and Patricia Valentine are violating Miami Township zoning rules by keeping two goats for their son, David. The couple claims that, even though they have several other animals at their suburban home, taking care of the goats helps 12-year-old David.
Some neighbors had complained to the township's Board of Zoning Appeals which said the family cannot have goats in their 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.
The township took legal action in Clermont County Common Pleas Court to force the Valentine family to get rid of the goats. The Valentines sought an exemption in 2003, but were denied.
Walker has ruled that the Valentines are violating the zoning codes by keeping the goats, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last Monday.
"We knew that was coming," Patricia Valentine told the Enquirer. "We weren't surprised -- it's pretty clear-cut.''
Walker said that a permanent injunction to force the family to remove the goats was in order. First, however, he must hear arguments on both sides of the issue to decide whether the goats should be allowed as an accommodation for the boy's disability under fair housing laws.
A scheduling conference was set for Monday.