Detroit officers seize goats, chickens from sobbing homeowner over ‘farm’ ordinance


When David and Sky Brown bought a house for $2,000 on Detroit’s west side in May, they never expected to have problems for having a few goats and chickens.

After all, much more serious issues plague their neighborhood near Brightmoor – arsons, violent crime, chronic abandonment, dead pit bulls dumped along the side of the road.

So when two Animal Control officers knocked on their door to seize their three baby pygmy goats and six chickens, they were astounded and distraught.

Silkies1“She told us she was taking all of our animals,” Sky told me. “I began to cry.”

The city has an ordinance prohibiting “farm” animals that aren’t “securely under restraint” by a trained professional.

The officers refused to let the couple move the animals to a safe place outside of the city, Sky said, so she begrudgingly obeyed orders to place her goats in crates in the back of a city truck as she sobbed.

“They are like our babies,” she told me, telling me their names – Idan, Raichel, and Sarai.

The officers rounded up the chickens with a net.

To the Browns’ surprise, even two Detroit police officers showed up.

goats1Sky said the Animal Control officers refused to say where the goats and chicken were being taken.
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According to the city’s ordinance, Animal Control is “authorized to sell, transfer, euthanize, or dispose” of unlawful farm animals.

“I’m so worried about them,” Sky said. “They’re probably cold and terrified.”

Animal Control couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Check back for updates.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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