By Roszan Holmen – Victoria News
Published: November 01, 2011 12:00 PM
Updated: November 01, 2011 12:45 PM
Chickens should not be the only farm animals allowed in the urban environment, says Coun. Philippe Lucas, who wants miniature goats to be allowed in the mix.
“The whole goal of this would be to allow people to milk goats for cheese production within the city of Victoria for their own consumption,” Lucas said Wednesday.
Lucas last week won council support for an initiative he earlier shepherded through the environment and infrastructure committee to have city staff investigate the feasibility of allowing residents to keep miniature goats.
“I was approached by a number of people interested in food security and people who are avid urban farmers or gardeners, and asked to look into the possibility of keeping urban goats,” Lucas said. Lucas said dwarf goats produce an average of one kilogram of milk a day and some will produce up to 3.6 kg a day.
“So I’m not talking about an insignificant amount of dairy product.”
Lucas said in other jurisdictions, such as Seattle, miniature goats are licensed in the same manner as dogs.
“So it’s a very simple bureaucratic process to be able to manage this. There’s limits on the number of goats you can keep on a property based on the property size,” he said.
Miniature goats, which are about the size of a medium-size dog, are also known as pygmy or dwarf goats. The animals weigh between 22.5 kg and 45 kg and grow to about 0.6 metres.
The goats are certainly quieter than many dogs.
If approved, Victoria would be following the lead of its neighbours to the south.
Seattle passed a bylaw in 2007 that classified minigoats as small animals rather than farm animals. That city now licenses them like dogs, cats, exotic animals and potbellied pigs.
The University of Washington has been known to hire herds to clear slopes of blackberry brambles.
People who want to keep goats will have to get a licence for them, as for a dog or cat, and have them dehorned. Male goats must be neutered – the unaltered male gives off a musky scent that some find offensive, goat experts say.
Seattle’s urban goats are not allowed in off-leash areas or anywhere outside the owner’s yard, with the exception that they can be lent to other owners to graze in their yards.
Portland and Everett have also passed legislation legalizing the goats.
Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Saanich and Central Saanich all allow hens on smaller, residential-sized lots.