By William Kaempffer, Register Staff
firstname.lastname@example.org / Twitter: @kaempffer1
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
NEW HAVEN — The city really got the goat of a Rock Hill Road resident Tuesday.
Actually, two goats and a few dozen chickens to be precise.
“We have approximately 24 chickens,” said Rafael Ramos, of the city’s Livable City Initiative.
More photos of the chickens, goats
City ordinance limits the number of chickens a resident can own to six.
Then there were the conditions.
“The conditions in the basement were pretty bad. The odor of course,” Ramos said.
Inside the first-floor apartment, there was goat feces.
According to Ramos, LCI received complaints about farm animals and an unbearable stench from 16 Rock Hill Road. It became a quality of life issue for neighbors who couldn’t enjoy their homes or back yards because of the powerful smell, Ramos said.
And then there was the law. While a half dozen chickens are permissible, the residents had four times that. Goats and other farm animals are simply forbidden. LCI has been dealing with the family, who assured the city that they would resolve the issues, Ramos said. The goats disappeared from the back yard pen, but authorities suspected the family was hiding the goats inside.
“Bring the goats to the door so we can remove them,” Ramos told the female resident when she finally opened the door.
She was greeted by Ramos and his LCI crew, her landlords and TV cameras.
“We’ve got to get those goats out of here. We talked about this over a month ago,” he said.
The woman assured him her son had planned to bring the goats to auction Monday. They wanted to send some of the chickens to a farm in Northford. She acknowledged that keeping goats in the bedroom wasn’t a great idea.
“I know. I know. It’s not a thing to be in the house,” the woman said. “I know it. I understand.”
Ramos said LCI already had given the residents “a couple deadlines” that came and passed without resolution.
Since the family voluntarily surrendered the animals, Ramos said the city wouldn’t pursue fines or criminal enforcement. Police did respond to the location Tuesday.
The animals were a source of frustration for the landlord and neighbors.
“The smell, yes,” said neighbor Amy Rodriguez.
Dave Quoka, whose family has owned the house for 56 years, said he was glad LCI stepped in.
The family is in the process of being evicted for not paying rent in 3 1/2 months. He had spoken to them in the past about the animals.
“My concern is the goats in the house,” he said. “A couple of years ago they had ducks in the basement.”
When he raised the issue of the goats in the house, the son ignored him, he said. He said he told them to stop building sheds to house the animals and he was ignored again.
“Look at the mess.”
Chickens found in the basement appeared to be neglected and the odor was knee buckling. Seven in a cage sat in a half inch of their own feces and had brown water to drink.
“Look at that water, how disgusting it is,” one LCI worker observed.
The goats appeared to be clean and cared for; they immediately set out munching grass when LCI workers carried them outside.
LCI neighborhood specialist Nick Licata said both appeared to be very young. While he stressed he was no goat expert, he said he believed they were pygmy goats.
The pair will go to Tara Farm Rescue, non-profit animal sanctuary in Coventry.
Ramos said he could only theorize why the family had so many animals.
“I think they just love animals and they want to sell fresh eggs to their neighbors,” he said.
But at the same time, the stench is “making it unbearable, even for the tenants upstairs".
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