One city resident has apparently learned the hard way that Batavia’s new ordinance banning several types of farm animals is being taken seriously.
At least it is by her neighbors who were paying attention.
According to one witness, city police were called to the resident’s home after it was discovered she was still harboring a goat. The woman, Jill Turner of Batavia, had apparently hidden it in her house “so that no one knew she still had it” after the May 15 ordinance date took effect.
This witness heard the goat one particular morning, and fellow neighbors had seen it before someone reported it to the police.
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed that there are “multiple charges” against goat owner Jill Turner of Burke Drive. Witnesses have also told The Batavian that Turner was screaming at a neighbor, “You’re dead, I’m going to (expletive) kill you.” Names are being withheld for fear of retaliation.
Hardly the first go-round for this neighborhood, Turner, at one point, had at least four goats, one or more chickens, and other domestic pets at her home. Neighbors had complained last year about the noise, smell, mess and fear that the animals created for them. That was a primary reason for why discussions came up about having farm animals in the city.
After public discussions with City Council and a public hearing, council voted to adopt the new ordinance banning most farm animals from city limits.
City Manager Rachael Tabelski said the city’s Code Enforcement Department has not issued any citations as of yet and will follow up for any complaints received through the proper code violation process.
Heubusch said a press release for Turner's charges had not yet been approved, so it had not been sent out by late Wednesday evening.
As a reminder, the amended zoning ordinance to restrict animals and fowl on city property includes:
A. Subject to the limited exceptions set forth herein; No person shall own, bring into, possess, keep, harbor or feed farm animals, cloven-hoofed animals, equine or fowl including, but not limited to, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, swine, llamas, alpacas, ducks, turkey, geese , ponies, donkeys, mules or any other farm animal within the City limits.
B. Subject to the limited exceptions set forth herein; No person shall own, keep, harbor, or feed wild animals, wild fowl (ducks, turkey, or geese) within the City limit.
C. Subject to the limited exceptions set forth herein; No person shall breed or maintain any farm animals, cloven-hoofed animals, equine or fowl including, but not limited to, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, swine, llamas, alpacas, ducks, turkey, geese, ponies, donkeys, mules or any other farm or wild animal within the City limit.
(a) A maximum of six (6) hen chickens may be kept as long as that they are penned appropriately, do not accumulate feces, cause odor, or an unsightly or unsafe condition.
(b) Harborage, including transport to and from race tracks and all associated grounds
(c) Special events with the approval of an event application.
(d) Animals in transit through the City.
(e) Transport to and from veterinary hospitals/clinics, including short-term boarding for medical procedures/conditions.
D. No person shall permit an accumulation of animal and/or fowl feces on any property resulting in a foul odor or unsightly condition that makes travel or residence in the vicinity uncomfortable or which attracts flies or other insects or animals, thereby creating an unsanitary condition and may facilitate the spread of disease or which endangers the public comfort and repose.
The date of May 15 gave residents a six-month grace period from the time of adoption.