British Columbia

No kidding around: Hotel owner ordered to remove weed-chomping goats

A mother goat and her kid have become quite the local celebrities in Prince Rupert, with many stopping to take photos of them jumping onto rocks on the lawn of a hotel. However, they may not be in the city for much longer. 

Mother and kid have become celebrities in Prince Rupert, but fall foul of city bylaw

When Teresa Lee bought the goats from a man in Hazelton, B.C., she hadn't considered that there could be a bylaw issue in Prince Rupert. (Teresa Lee)

A mother goat and her kid have become quite the local celebrities in Prince Rupert, B.C., with many stopping to take photos of them jumping onto rocks on the lawn of the hotel where they live. 

However, they may not be in the city for much longer. 

The goats were purchased on Tuesday by Teresa Lee, owner of the Moby Dick Inn, because she wanted to find a solution to get rid of the weeds on her lawn.

But within a few hours of the goats' arrival, Lee was informed by a city bylaw officer that livestock are not permitted within city limits.

She's taking issue with the bylaw and the order to get rid of the goats.

"I don't think they disturb anybody," Lee told Radio West's Josh Page. "They're not making noise and we've got a nice fence, so they're not going to get away, and I don't see any negative."

The city has asked Lee to voluntarily remove the goats by the end of the week. (Teresa Lee)

When she bought the goats from a man in Hazelton, B.C., she hadn't considered that there could be a bylaw issue.

She has heard of people having pet snakes and other animals as pets, so she figured a goat would be fine.

The hotel owner says the animals have quickly become an attraction, and estimates a few hundred people have already come by to see them.

"They took pictures and posted [them] on Facebook right away. I am shocked," Lee said. "Almost the whole town is talking about it."

Lee says the goats have already been doing a great job eating the weeds around her garden, and she doesn't want to give them away.

"People love it," Lee said. "I told them they have to go, and they said no, we can't let them go."

Potential fine

Veronica Stewart, the communications manager for the City of Prince Rupert, said goats are not permitted in the city under the livestock prohibition bylaw, and the goats also violate land use rules for zoning bylaws. 

The only way the goats can stay is if zoning and bylaw amendments are made, she said.

'Almost the whole town is talking about it,' Lee said of the goats on the grounds of the Moby Dick Inn. (Teresa Lee)

"Zoning amendments generally involve public notification and a public hearing in front of council so that the committee actually has the chance to weigh in on whether or not they want to see goats in Prince Rupert, because it isn't something that I don't think has come up necessarily before," said Stewart.

The city has asked Lee to voluntarily remove the goats by the end of the week. If she doesn't, she will face a fine, Stewart said. 

Lee is hoping the city will give her a temporary licence to hang onto the goats until she can work something out, or attempt to get the bylaws changed. 

If the city does make her remove them from her property, she says the old owner will take them back. 

With files from Courtney Dickson and Radio West

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