Pismo to reconsider city rules on goats

Local man, after being ticketed for grazing his goats, hopes to work out a compromise

clambert@thetribunenews.comMay 20, 2014 

Goatee needed a little push into the car, but Pismo and Grover jumped into the small Mazda sedan without a problem Monday afternoon.

Then Dana McGregor climbed in the front seat, backed out of the driveway of the Pismo Beach home he shares with his mother, and drove a short distance away to a spot where the three goats could meander and munch on leaves and grass.

As his “kids” wandered about, McGregor talked about his request earlier this year that Pismo Beach reconsider current rules prohibiting goats from being kept and raised in the city, and from public parks.

The Pismo Beach City Council will discuss his request today.

“I talked about all the good things the goats are doing in the community,” McGregor said, recalling what he told the council in January. “They’re our mascots for surfing and stand-up paddleboard camps.”

McGregor, 35, got Goatee, a nanny goat, more than three years ago to clear out poison oak in his mom’s yard, and grew attached. Pismo and Grover are her offspring.

Since then, he’s become known for teaching his goats how to surf. Two of the several YouTube videos on his website, http://surfinggoats.com  , have garnered more than 12,000 views each.

The goats serve as mascots for several of McGregor’s ventures, including youth soccer camps through FLO Soccer Ministries, and surf camps. McGregor takes them to visit retirement homes and the Central Coast Rescue Mission in Santa Maria.

He’s also partnered with a few other organizations to raise money to “give a kid a kid,” to provide Haitian children with young goats.

More recently, however, McGregor has received some costly tickets for grazing the goats within city limits.

One of the $400 tickets was later reduced; McGregor said a local judge recently directed him to work with the city to resolve the issue.

“I want what’s best for the city too,” he said. “I’m hoping we can work something out.”

Under current city code, some livestock — including cattle, horses and sheep — are allowed within city limits on lots that are one acre or larger. Goats are not allowed in public parks, but they are not included among the list of animals prohibited from the beach.

City staff recommends adding a section to allow no more than four goats to be kept or raised on private property with the approval of a permit. The council could also consider allowing goats in public parks, subject to keeping them on a leash.

The proposed changes would require goats to be kept at least 25 feet from any open water drainage system, according to a staff report. No permit would be issued if another permit was already in effect within 200 feet of a property boundary.

Approval would be granted for a one-year trial permit, which would be reviewed to determine whether the permit can continue, be further conditioned or revoked.

The short-term use of goats for weed abatement does not require permit approval and would not be subject to the same conditions.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.

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