Detroit officials order grazing goats off property

Detroit officials order grazing goats off property

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DETROIT (WJBK) - You're not counting sheep - we're counting goats.

Fifteen Alpine goats, all nine to 14 weeks old, moved into a block in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood at Kendall and Westbrook.

Neighbors believe this property is owned by the city.

"The community is slated for agriculture development in the future cities plan, and, so, ... this is one city block that has only one occupied structure on it," says Leonard Pollara of Idyll Farms.

One house stands on the entire block. The remaining area is choked with eye-high grass and weeds.

It may look like blight to you and me, but it's great goat food. Goats can chomp this down in no time.

Idyll Farms has a goat herd in Leelanau County. They visited this neighborhood and decided to help Detroit start urban farming.

"I think that there's nothing but good that can come from having these goats here, really. I mean, they're adorable, they're fun to look at, they're eating, they're mowing," says Lisa Rivera, a Brightmoor resident.

So Idyll Farms took it out of Idyll and brought in these 15 young goats to make an instant lawn mowing petting zoo of sorts.

"Our expectation is as the goats would grow that they would be able to clean up approximately half of this block, so, approximately two acres or more in a 100-day period," says Pollara.

But a Detroit city animal control inspector stopped by and said the city zoning ordinance in Detroit does not allow livestock.

Idyll Farm has been given until 12 p.m. Monday to remove the goats.

"Well we'd love to stay but our primary goal is compliance. We're not interested in fighting with the city. We want to be a vehicle for change. We want to help the community," says Pollara.

Idyll Farms says the goats have plenty of fresh water, are supervised and a shelter would have gone up Monday. They say it's a philanthropic effort to blend with the current urban farming movement in Detroit's uninhabited, blighted, grown-in weedy areas.

"We had heard about animal control coming and trying to, whatever, seize the animals by Monday. I'm just, I'm really disappointed in the city for not making any kind of amends, I guess, to the ordinance," says Rivera.

FOX 2's Ron Savage reports Idyll Farms made it very clear they will not argue. They say they came in peace and only want to help the urban farming movement.



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