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Pismo Beach to consider ordinance legalizing goats 

No, that surfing goat you just saw riding the waves in Pismo Beach wasn’t the symptom of a heat wave-induced mirage. It was actually happening.

The rising popularity of goats among city dwellers in Pismo Beach—and one goat-loving resident, specifically—has prompted the city to consider an ordinance that would institute a set of rules and regulations to allow goats in city limits. The Pismo Beach City Council voted 4-1 on May 20 to direct staff to draft such language.

The city already has guidelines for most other animals (it allows a cow or a horse to be kept in a minimum of 1-acre pasture, and a maximum of four sheep can be kept per acre), but not for goats. The city doesn’t allow horses on the beach, limiting animal access solely to dogs on a leash. But goats may soon gain access to both beaches and parks, as long as they’re also on a leash.

City staff and council were generally open to the idea, recognizing the importance of adjusting to the times, though City Councilmember Mary Ann Reiss was troubled by the idea in general and that one person, not a larger trend, prompted the ordinance.

“I’m just having a lot of trouble with it,” Reiss said. “I don’t understand why we’re doing this.”

Staff will draft considerations such as space and structural guidelines and notification of neighbors when a resident applies for a goat permit.

Goat aficionado and keeper of the website Dana McGregor told the council that there are many benefits to goat-human interactions. McGregor’s friend and attorney agreed.

“It’s not a situation where it’s ‘goats gone wild surfing in Pismo,’” said attorney Matt Janowicz. “It’s providing people an opportunity to have other pets and get enjoyment out of other types of animals that are not a detriment to the city, but in fact are bringing the city attention.”

-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay

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