A concerned neighbor approached my husband tonight. He brought with him a law numbered 5-2009. Our village, upon discovering we have no livestock laws, has issued a moratorium on permits for livestock. I wondered why. The neighbor wants to help. He gave me all the paperwork from the last, closed door, village trustee meeting.
I have a herd of 2 dairy goats, which provide milk for my family, my parents, and an additional 5 gallons of milk that is distributed to needy families by the food pantry that operates around the corner from us. This is a small village - 600.
I called my favorite village board trustee who informed me that a complaint has been lodged by a 'neighbor' about my goats. I'm quite surprised. I have really great neighbors, and the goats stay in the barn. They're quite happy with their feed of goat chow and hay and all the snacks (weeds and produce) the neighbors pick out of their garden for them. It's the neighbors I have to keep out of the goats, ha ha, not the goats out of the neighbors space. The barn is a magnet- but that's okay.
Goats aren't particularly smelly. We only have females, so there's no stinky rut cycle from a buck. They're not particularly noisy - they will call to the people who are out in their gardens and beg through the window of the barn for treats. And they do have their favorite people - like the adult neighbor ladies who live next door. These are my neighbors who put in a row of burdock because the goats really like it. Burdock is a weed, by the way. So clearly, it is not them.
I called several village trustees I'm acquainted with and urged them to consider compassion and wisdom as they discussed and voted. These economic times are challenging in the Northeast, and more gardens than ever are being dug and planted. More people are relying on their own industry and thrift, than ever.
Now is not the time in a small NY farm village, to limit the contents of one's barn and one's ability to feed their own family. Not to mention.. who is going to buy the large amount of specialty milk my family would require with our caseine and lactose intolerance problem? Should the village be able to limit, for no good reason, my children's access to safe food and drink?
They may be messing with the wrong mama. I will go door to door and campaign for my goats, the people's right to raise food for their own family without interference, and maybe it may help that my own mother is on the village planning board. I doubt it, frankly, because she hadn't heard of the law when I approached Mom. I'm not sure who has juridstiction here.
It's not like the neighbor two doors down and their friendly labrador/poodle mix who they cannot keep on a leash. It's not like my goats go in their barn and bother them. And yet I have sweetly returned their pooprador home from my barn at least a dozen times without complaint, instead of calling the dog catcher (if we have one). Because Curly is a nice dog, and it's not his fault his parents just open the door and let him out to turn over people's trash cans and poke his head in my barn.
The next village board meeting is July 18. I'll have to skip soccer practice to rally the board in support of my goats. In the meantime, I am mentioning this to every family who drinks my goats milk, and to every friend of my goats, and every parent who loves their children and would do anything to help them grow up safely without diarrheal disease and other misery from drinking something harmful for them. Please consider calling my village hall in support of our goats.
As I asked the village board member tonight. What would you have me give my children for breakfast tomorrow if the village votes my goats out of the barn? Do you know of any place in the three county area which sells goat milk by the gallon? I cannot buy 1/2 pint cans of goats milk for $2.99. I urged the board members to act with compassion and wisdom, because my goats are no threat to the natural resources or happiness of my neighbors. But they are necessary for the welfare of my children.
If you read this, I encourage you to call, between the hours of 9a.m to 4p.m. Monday through Friday, and leave a message with the village clerk or leave a note for the village mayor of Rushville. The phone number is (585) 554-3415. Please call in support of Mrs. Kolz' dairy goats for her children. The goats live in a barn, and provide milk for the children, manure for the neighborhood gardens which supply families and the food pantry, and also provide free milk for needy families. And please be polite, this is a small, country village and we're polite. Thank you.