Lillian Webber and her lawyer fought in Amarillo Municipal Court today to keep the 46-pound pygmy goat Webber says is a part a her family.
"The city ordinances are just very unclear," Defense Attorney Richard King said. "In one sense, it does seem like they're livestock, but in a very different sense it seems like they're domestic animals or pets."
Webber was charged with keeping livestock inside the city limits. Webber said she looked into city ordinances before she purchased the animal and was under the impression the animal was considered domestic due to its weight and height.
Amarillo Animal Control officials testified that the goat is considered livestock under the revised ordinances.
"Prior to the updates to the ordinances in 2007, a person could own this many animals, could have a miniature goat or a miniature pig," Animal Control Executive Director Mike McGee stated, "and when the definitions were changed and modified in 2007, that eliminates that."
The charges came about after Webber's neighbor contacted Animal Control with the complaint last year. Though an officer paid her property a visit and left a citation stating there was no violation, Animal Control officials said another officer, who was aware of the ordinance changes, went back to Webber's property two weeks later to issue a violation citation. Animal Control Assistant Director Shannon Barlow said several attempts were made to contact Webber to apologize for the mix-up.
"We have a witness to that account," Barlow said, "a neighbor that called us originally about the animal getting out, chewing up the flowers, getting into the flower bed."
Both Webber and her attorney said they felt "pretty confident" going into the trial. At the end of the day, Webber was found guilty and was fined $1 plus court costs.
Webber and her family recently moved to the country and are looking forward to taking Billy the Goat with them to the new home.