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Pet goats in Federal Way: Committee will review city code

Lily is one of Ava Anissipour
Lily is one of Ava Anissipour's pet pygmy goats.
— image credit: Mirror file

A girl hopes to change Federal Way city code so that she can keep her pet goat.

City staff will give a full report to members of the Land Use and Transportation Committee (LUTC) on Oct. 7 regarding the city code dealing with goats as domestic pets in the city.

Ava Anissipour, 12, is attempting to get the city to reconsider the ordinance regarding pet goats in an effort to keep a second pygmy goat — named Juju — that she recently brought into her home.

Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest gave a brief update on the situation during the city council's Sept. 3 meeting. At the last council meeting, Ava Anissipour requested the council to look at amending city code to allow for pygmy goats to be kept as household pets.

City code does not allow goats to be kept in city limits, Priest noted. Ava's first goat, Lilly, was allowed to stay due to a recommendation from a doctor saying the goat was a an emotional support companion.

The goats were brought to the city's attention by neighbors who complained about the smell of the animals. Priest said the city had to enforce the code as it now stands, especially in light of the second goat that the Anissipour family brought into their home.

"As we discussed at the last meeting, the city cannot and will not ignore the law, and so Ava has agreed to house the second goat at a house outside of the city," he said. "Both Ava's articulate testimony, as well as the concerns of the homeowners of the city who may have a different view, (means that the city's) community and economic development staff have added this issue to an already very full workload."

The mayor said the community and economic development staff will give a full report at the aforementioned committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at City Hall.

Anyone interested is encouraged to attend and offer comments. If the committee and the full council agree, the request can go to the Planning Commission to consider a zoning code.

"Due to the restrictions of the Growth Management Act, the council cannot change the zoning code on this or any other issue without going through the regular process with the planning commission," the mayor said.

(Pictured: Ava Anissipour and Lilly, one of her pet pygmy goats)

FYI

• To read more about the Anissipour family's fight to keep their pet goat, click here.

• According to Federal Way city code, goats are considered a large livestock animal, and the property requirements for that classification include having 70,000 square feet, which is a little less than 2 acres. Anissipour's single-family property, located in the Brittany Lane neighborhood near Wild Waves Theme Park, measures roughly 6,000 square feet.

• Goats are allowed as pets in some cities, including Seattle. In 2007, the Seattle City Council voted to reclassify pygmy goats as small animals rather than farm animals. In Seattle, goats require pet licenses just like cats and dogs. The goats must be dehorned, and male goats must be neutered.

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