A Federal Way, Washington girl is fighting to keep her pet goats – but she’s facing an uphill battle with animal control. On Tuesday, July 30, KOMO 4 News reported that a Federal Way family is fighting to keep their pet goats, but animal control has warned them that having a second goat is against the law.
Ava Annisipour, 12, has two Pygmy goats who live in her Federal Way home.
“Ever since I was three, I have wanted a goat,” she explained.
Ava’s mother, Kelly, told her daughter that she could have a goat when she turned nine. Kelly had hoped that her daughter would simply outgrow her wish to have a goat with that six-year time frame. “After my father passed away, she started really wanting one. I was thinking it would go away, but it didn’t,” she stated.
But when she turned nine, Ava again asked her mom for a goat. Remembering her promise, Kelly relented.
“When I turned nine, my mom got me a Pygmy goat as a pet,” Ava stated.
Ava’s pet goat, Lilly, has lived in her home for the past three years. According to Ava, when she goes to school, Lilly stays outside with her Mastiff.
“They’re best friends,” she stated.
But not everyone is on board with her pet goat.
“A year ago, animal control tried to come and take my baby away from me,” she stated.
The Federal Way code enforcer informed them that the goat was violating a city animal ordinance.
“They said that I had a week, or else they would take my goat and sell her at auction. My pediatrician write a letter and now Lilly is a certified service animal.”
According to Kelly, the goats help Ava’s mental health.
“They calm her down a lot, they make her happy,” she said.
“They just emotionally bring her down to where she’s not anxious, she’s not worried.”
Six months ago, Ava’s family got another pet goat who they named Juju, who is not a certified service animal.
“Goats are best in pairs, to keep each other company. Juju and Lilly have lived In the house with me for the past six months,” stated Ava.
According to Ava, animal control visited her once again on July 24, informing her that her goats had to be gone by July 31.
“Otherwise, they’ll be sold at auction,” Ava stated.
“I live in a regular house with no acreage; it just has a small backyard. They said it’s not legal to have goats in our community. My mom and I don’t understand why we can’t keep our babies.”
According to KOMO 4 News, neighbors have complained about the odor of the animals and have asked the city to remove them. Animal control officers have now received several complaints about the animals. The family was recently informed that they have to get rid of Juju.
An animal control officer’s report states that she noticed piles of goat manure and flies on the property. She also noticed the odor of feces and urine. The property has two dogs and two goats, and animal control states that there are too many animals for the property size.
One of the neighbors, Giselle Blanton, filed a complaint, stating that noise is an issue with these animals.
“We try to come out in the evening and enjoy time on our patio, and we can’t stand the patio. It smells like a farm yard,” she said.
Blanton wants the Annisipour family to obey the law.
“It’s a simple matter of she’s breaking the law,” she said.
“I feel like what she needs to do is be within the parameter of the law, which means no goats.”
Ava bottle fed both of her goats and doesn’t want to lose them.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten the second goat, because we knew we were not supposed to have the first goat, but Lilly really wouldn’t have survived without (Juju),” Ava said.
A city spokeswoman said that she’s trying to reach an agreement with the Annisiopour family to find a new home for Juju. An officer is scheduled to return to their home today and the Annisipour family will face another citation if Juju is still in their home.
Seattle Pets Examiner will continue to provide updates to this story as they occur.
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