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The City Journals

Midvale gets their goats: No ‘kid’ding

Mar 18, 2019 04:06PM ● By Erin Dixon

Candace Yocum’s goats are the highlight of the neighborhood. Many people stop by to feed them and even contribute Christmas trees for the goat’s diet. (Photo courtesy Candace Yocum)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

You are welcome to get a goat.

Midvale City now allows the keeping of pygmy goats. Several surrounding cities allow them, but until March 5, 2019, they were illegal in Midvale.

According to the resolution, a “‘Miniature Goat’ means an animal of the species Capra hircus which, at maturity, is less than 27 inches high at the shoulder, weighs no more than 100 pounds, and is more commonly known as a Pygmy, Dwarf, or Miniature Goat.”

To own a goat, the owner must follow particular guidelines for housing and caring for them. They are also required to register them with Salt Lake County Animal Control. (See sidebar.)

In times of non-compliance to this ordinance, city code enforcement would be responsible for the inspection of the lot and structures, while Salt Lake County Animal Control would be responsible for registration as well as investigating excess noise or smell reports.

Salt Lake Animal Control Officer Marcie Seal explained that registration will be helpful in the case of an event that destroys the fencing. 

Frankie and Marshmallow, the goats who began the discussion, have a loving owner and a yard full of toys. (Photo courtesy Candace Yocum)

“[W]e do have livestock registrations because if anything does happen that causes damage to the property, letting the goats out, we know specifically who, where, what additional contacts they have so they can get back to where they need to be,” Seal said. 

This ordinance has been on the council’s table since April 2018. Resident Candace Yocum had owned goats for several years, unaware that her keeping them was a problem. Frankie and Marshmallow are well taken care of and protected in a fenced yard. However, a complaint stirred the city to make an ordinance regulating the keeping of goats for the city at-large. 

“They’re the best pets on the planet. I was raised on a farm, so we always had animals,” Yocum said. 

Yocum is pleased at the outcome of the ordinance, including the detailed regulations.

“People don’t realize goats have to be taken care of a certain way or they will become mischievous. They have to be in sets of two... or they don’t do well. You have to have a salt lick, you have to have toys, things to rub along,” Yocum said.

Other residents are happy to have the goats in the neighborhood. Heidi Miller also commented in the public hearing in favor of the ordinance. “My sister had a pygmy goat, the best pet anyone could ever have. The waste was used for fertilizer, clean up the yard and relatively quiet.”

Councilmember Dustin Gettel has been the driving force behind the ordinance; Yocum’s mother is a personal friend. 

“This was a 10 month labor of love that involved a lot of community engagement and hard work from the council and city staff,” said Gettel, who was wearing socks with goats on them at the meeting when this ordinance was passed. “I’m proud of what we accomplished together, and I couldn't be any happier for Candace and her goat babies.”