Lexingtonians interested in urban farming will have to wait before getting the city's approval to turn miniature goats and pigs out to graze in their back yards.
The Urban County Council's planning and public works committee worked several months on an ordinance to allow the animals in the city.
But on Tuesday, when it came time to approve the ordinance and send it to the Urban County Council for a vote, questions came up about noise, odor, shelter and what to do with unwanted animals.
"Let's take another shot at coming up with something acceptable to the community," committee member Julian Beard said. The committee will not meet again before the council goes on summer break July 10, so the committee won't take up the ordinance again until at least after the break ends Aug. 14.
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City law prohibits keeping goats or pigs. Chickens are allowed.
Certain kinds of small pigs and goats would be allowed under the proposal put on hold Tuesday. The proposal prohibits accumulation of animal excrement, unsanitary conditions and noise that would disturb neighbors.
Residents could keep a maximum of six miniature goats and two potbellied pigs.
During the past two years, the city's animal control division has received 34 calls about pigs and goats. "People are keeping them illegally now," said council member Steve Kay. A change in the law would set standards for keeping animals and allow for regulation, but council members decided they did not have enough information to move forward Tuesday.
If the proposal passed, council members have no idea how many unwanted or abandoned animals there would be, Vice Mayor Linda Gorton said. "Does animal control have enough people to deal with them?" she asked.
Council member Peggy Henson wanted to know whether animal excrement would pollute stormwater runoff that flows into local streams.
Jeremy Porter, a staff member with Seedleaf, an urban gardening organization, and its subsidiary Cluck, for people interested in back-yard poultry, said that because goats eat no meat, their excrement is not smelly like that of a dog or cat.
An opponent asked whether the committee had contacted the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture for advice about keeping these animals in a city back yard.
Lara Doth de Martinez of the Blue Grass Goat Justice League said after the meeting that she would urge the committee to get in touch with animal-control officers in cities such as Louisville, Cincinnati, Seattle and St. Paul, Minn., which allow pigs and goats, to see what their experience has been.
"In my research, back-yard animals have been an overwhelming positive experience. It is not something that causes a heartache for everybody," de Martinez said.