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Goat School, Goat Rules

Long have dogs, cats and chickens been allowed as pets in urban areas, but now Genie Harden is making an effort to give them company here in the form of miniature Nigerian dwarf goats. Harden, who has a farm on Chezem Road in Eugene, is running a goat school on her property this weekend to teach those interested in owning goats how to raise them.

Fueling the creation of this school are proposed changes to Eugene’s land use code that could change many of the city’s regulations on urban farming, including requiring people keeping farm animals to reside on or adjacent to the premises, increasing the allowable number of chickens and rabbits on some lots, allowing miniature goats and pigs (with restrictions) on more lots, requiring shelters for all animals, prohibiting neglect, creating noise limits and allowing the slaughter of chickens, fowl and rabbits out of view of the public or adjacent property. See a draft of the proposal for farm animal standards at wkly.ws/1ea

There is a Eugene City Planning Commission hearing scheduled for Dec. 11 to discuss the proposed changes. Harden will speak in favor of an increase in urban farming.

“I am inviting people on my property for three hours to get all the information they need to seriously think whether goat keeping is for them,” Harden says. “There’s a lot to do. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a big commitment.” 

She wants anyone who is interested to have a firsthand experience, which includes milking and hoof trimming along with all else that goes into caring for them and keeping them safe in an urban environment. 

Harden will hold classes Dec. 7-9. Attendees will participate in activities teaching them how to care for and protect these possible pets. 

The current proposal calls for allowing up to two miniature goats per household, as long as they are dehorned and the males are neutered, but Harden believes more should be allowed. 

“I feel that there should allowed the same number of goats as dogs,” she says. Three dogs are currently allowed per household, with an option for a fourth for up to six months in any 12-month period. “Goats really love a crowd. Two is okay, one is not good.”  

“These goats are so loving, and they are dog-like, and they are loyal, and they are playful, and they are interactive, and they are bright,” she says. 

For more information, email Harden at genieharden@gmail.com. —  Nick Poust