Livestock or pets? Midvale woman hopes ordinance change will keep her pygmy goats at home

MIDVALE, Utah – One Midvale resident and self-proclaimed ‘goat mom’ faces losing her two pygmy goats, that she’s owned for more than two years, over noncompliance with the city.

Candace has a home like many others in the city of Midvale, but with one small difference.

“People just come and pet the goats and feed the goats. It’s almost like a community attraction,” said Dustin Gettel, a Midvale City Council member.

Their names are Marshmallow and Frankie. But to the city of Midvale, these pygmy goats are nothing more than livestock, and, according to city ordinance, these little guys aren’t allowed.

”Pygmy goats aren’t specifically referenced in the ordinance, it’s just generally goats," Gettel said. "So without any clarification I could see how the city would interpret that, as these being goats, as livestock."

But to self-proclaimed ‘goat mom,’ Candace, these goats are so much more.

”I don’t see them as livestock,” she said. “I was kind of shocked when they called them livestock. I didn’t understand why because they’re just pets,” she added.

The goats are just like any other pet; they love treats and playing with toys, and they’ve even made friends with some neighborhood dogs.

”If you look at them you can tell there’s a difference between these goats and barnyard goats,” Gettel said. “They’re tiny, and a normal goat is probably two or three times the size of these guys,” he added.

Council member Gettel has now made it his mission to fight for Candace, Marshmallow and Frankie.

”My initial thought was that we just need to update the ordinance,” Gettel said. "I’m hoping there will be something to carve out an exception for pygmy goats,” Gettel added.

According to Gettel, the council could have something in place as soon as May, which would allow Candace to keep her goats.

”We just want to take our time and do it right,” he said. “We want to make sure we don’t open up Pandora’s Box and everyone has a goat in their front yard,” he added.

If the council does decide to allow residents to have pygmy goats as pets, they would do so with restrictions. Including:

  • People could have two and only two goats. They say the goats are louder if they’re alone.
  • The goats would need to be de-horned and fixed.
  • Owners would be required to have an open enclosure for the animals.
  • Owners would also need to receive a license from the city and show proof of rabies vaccinations.