Town uses Agenda 21′s Zoning Tactic to Ban Family’s Dairy Goats

By: Joshua Cook
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A Massachusetts couple engaged in a battle to keep their dairy goats since 2006 will be taking their case to a federal judge this month.  Alan and Susan Griffin allege that the town has been violating their civil rights and discriminating against them, and they are seeking to block the town from removing their goats, plus $2 million in damages including compensation for mental anguish and emotional problems.

Both Griffin and his wife are disabled, and Susan’s irritable bowel syndrome is actually the reason the couple keeps goats.  She cannot drink cow’s milk, but the raw goat milk lessens her symptoms.  At the time the town first tried to force them to get rid of their goats, the couple had 3 adult goats and 2 kids on their acre property, the back half of which is zoned for agriculture.

Neighbors, however, complained that the goats smelled and attracted flies, and that that robbed them of their right to enjoy their own properties.  This prompted city officials to argue that the Griffins should be banned from keeping goats on their property because only the back half is zoned for agriculture.  This means that animals must cross residential land when entering or leaving the property.

goat - pic

The extension of this argument, of course, is that no “livestock” animals – or possibly even agricultural products, if it’s taken even further – can even pass through residential areas, however infrequently.  This ruling takes place at a time where zoning restrictions are making it harder to even keep pets nationwide.  Some areas only allow one or two pets per household, and there have been numerous stories of people getting into serious trouble for helping sick and injured wildlife.

For instance, earlier this year 12 federal agents stormed into an animal shelter which had rescued a fawn and was in the process of moving it to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.  They killed the deer, named Bambi.  The agents had been notified of the deer’s presence by a visitor to the shelter.  In another case, a family who had rescued a deer was turned in by neighbors, and the family faced the prospect of the deer’s killing until it was released by an unknown person in the middle of the night.  In another case, a mother faced a $500 fine for taking an injured bird to a wildlife sanctuary in a birdcage, and in yet another, a man faced charges for feeding birds on his own property.

In the Griffin’s case, the town then proposed a settlement offer.  According to this offer, the town would limit the Griffins to keeping four adult goats and three kids on the property – more than the couple had at the time of the lawsuit, raising the question of why this was preferable to the town – as well as having manure kept at least 20 feet from any neighbor’s property line, and a fence placed along the couple’s property.  In addition, the town called for the sale or removal of kids during a certain time, and inspections of the property at least every six months.  The Griffins declined this offer.


In response, Griffin reiterated his rights, and also said of the goats, “They are just like human beings.  They don’t stink.  They don’t smell.”  The Griffins are close to their animals as most pet owners are to theirs.  Goats are highly intelligent animals, and the government is forcing a disabled couple to eliminate that source of companionship.  In addition, the sale of raw milk is illegal in Massachusetts, so it will be very difficult for Susan to obtain the milk, which improves her quality of life, without the goats.

Zoning regulations – and the high level of control they give the government over individuals – are a progressive ideal and indeed advocated in Agenda 21.  Paragraph 10.3 of the document states, “Land resources are used for a variety of purposes which interact and may compete with one another; therefore, it is desirable to plan and manage all uses in an integrated manner.”   In paragraph 10.4, the document acknowledges that much of this is already in place, “but [elements] need to be more widely applied, further developed and strengthened.”

The Griffins believe that private property rights must be protected.  Griffin’s goats lived on land zoned for agriculture, but the couple has faced problems simply because of neighbor complaints and because the goats must occasionally cross residential land.

The Griffins have experienced what many Americans are experiencing throughout the nation. Government continues to usurp the rights of property owners in America and those who want to be self sufficient are being targeted and sometimes raided by law enforcement.

 

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Joshua Cook

Joshua Cook is the acting Chairman for the Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina. Joshua Cook's articles have also been cited on sites such as DrudgeReport, InfoWars, Reason.com, WND.com, Breitbart.com, DailyCaller and FreedomOutPost.com. If you have any tips please email me at [email protected] Like me on FB and follow me on Twitter.

  • Michael Labelle

    As much as I despise zoning something about this story doesn’t seem right. If the animals and their waste are causing flies/odor issues then put your self in the neighbors shoes. Everyone has the right to enjoy the use of their property UNTIL said use imposes on OTHER’S property rights.

    And the city appears to have given them everything they were asking for, even more than they had, and they refused to accept the offer. This sounds like they are just looking for a payout.

    • g.johnon

      perhaps Michael, but I believe that, in their shoes, I would have rejected the offer as well.
      on it’s face it seems generous. but that niggling little inspection every 6 months clause opens a door that needs to remain tightly closed and locked.

      • Crazy goat lady

        I agree!!!! I think it is wrong and despicable for the govt to have the right to inspect a private property when the owners are using it according to the current zoning laws. If you don’t want to live next to animals DON’T buy land near ag zoned land. Those neighbors KNEW they bought next to ag zoned land. Changing the zoning of land takes oodles of effort and paperwork. I do think that this article could have been improved by showing pictures of the fencing etc.

        I think this sounds more like a grudge between neighbors. . .JMO

  • Ardis Kenney

    Michael Labelle, I totally disagree with you. The goats are a medical necessity. That point seems to have gotten lost in the melee of “government.”

    This couple is disabled and on assistance. Some people would argue that they could buy goat’s milk, but that is probably not a possibility, and would be prohibitively expensive anyway.

    Have you ever lived next to a family with dogs, who do NOT keep their yard or their house clean? I do, and trust me, it is hugely more offensive than goats.

    Also it appears from the one picture I see that the goats are of a smaller breed.
    I would not have a problem with goats being farmed by a neighbor on an acre of property.

    I raise rabbits, and their barn is only 15 feet from my bedroom window. Yes there is some smell, but I will put up with that just for the joy of raising them and making great, healthy food for my husband and myself.

    • blakmira

      I’ll bet you get a real “joy” out of raising your rabbits and an even greater “joy” out of slicing their throats and watching them struggle and cry and bleed, all just so you can shove flesh down your gaping piehole and make some money off of them. Congratulations. What a wonderful, caring human being you are, lady, that you can hurt sweet bunny rabbits.

      • http://www.hoopsu.com Tony Alfonso

        Let me guess, you joyfully agree with abortion and see no problem with vacuuming a baby from the womb or stabbing a baby in the back of the neck.

      • Rob Edwards

        The problem you seem to have is you hate people eating animals. The facts don’t matter to you except someone is eating something fury. Please keep your hate filled rants to yourself and leave the discussions to the people who are not blinded with hate such as yourself.

      • Crazy goat lady

        Sweet bunny rabbits?! Clearly you have never dealt with rabbits. Most rabbits are fairly fierce animals that can bite, scratch and claw. I do not raise rabbits, and never have raised them for meat, but I assure you rabbits are like all the rest of God’s creatures: perfectly designed for living in their natural habitat and good at defending themselves. You totally miss the point here: these goats are pets, and probably well loved. Anyone that raises goats for milk knows that you most likely aren’t making any $.

  • hsmom2004

    While I sympathize with the issue at hand, to state that the goats don’t stink is false. Bucks do smell bad. So much so, that they often have to be separated from the does to keep from affecting the taste of the milk. Now, if they are breeding the does from a buck that is not on the property, then they may not have the smell issue, but if they have a buck, there is bound to be a smell.
    The manure should not have an odor. If they were to compost the manure, they would be benefiting themselves greatly.
    As for Mr. Labelle’s comment about just wanting a payout, possibly, but it could be that it has just gone on for so long with so much stress and their rights were threatened so that they want to see this through. It could also be that they feel that the city’s “compromise” shows that this couple actually has a good chance of winning the fight and they want to finish it.

  • GearheadZ Mechanical

    they gave them permission AND ALLOCATED MORE GOATS!! What mor do you want..the city is on their side obviously…it seems that when given an inch they then want a mile… screw it..if they lose their 2 million dollar lawsuit, ban all the frickin goats..that’s what they get for being greedy.No one wants to smell those goats and anyone that says they don’t smell must smell so bad themselves that they cant differentiate between the two. I say let them eat crow!

    • Mebake

      the city also demanded the right to enter and inspect the property un announced and with no warrant every six months…I would have declined that offer, too…the area, at least half of their property is zoned for agriculture…neighbors complaining about life stock should have checked the zoning laws before they decided to move there. If one can’t tolerate the smell and noise of live stock then they’re better off in a city…tolerance does go both ways.

      • GearheadZ Mechanical

        indeed it does……..but one made concessions for the other…but that obviously wasn’t good enoug….we all have to make compromises but these people are too good for compromise..it seems as if it is a all or nothing situation for the goat owners…hopefully it’s NOTHING as they are being greedy now. If it irritated me that bad I would just shoot the animals and solve the whole problem.On the other side of the coin….oh yea…they got more than they wanted in the first place, so there IS no other side of the coin.

  • asiliveandbreathe

    There is a right and a wrong way to raise goats. If your neighbors complain about the smell, flies and noise, the goats can’t be happy either.

  • Tom B

    Insane!Goats are very clean animals and don’t smell but I bet the neighbors sure stink as people.

  • Tom B

    I say these people should complain about all of their neighbors cats and dogs and say they stink more.Our city banned Agenda 21 after people realized how dreadful it was thank god.

  • blakmira

    Somebody’s lying here. No one “needs” goat’s milk just because they’re allergic to cow’s milk! There’s hundreds of alternatives to get calcium in your diet (like, uh, raw greens) and dozens of non-dairy milks available (almond, rice, coconut, hempseed)! Someone who’s been diagnosed with “IBS” needs to change their diet, period (maybe lay off the meat & chemicals).

    If the neighbors are complaining about the stench, what kind of filth are these poor animals living in? These people have NO business bringing animals into their junkyard.

    This story has NO CONNECTION with the orphan baby deer that was shot by a SWAT team while at a shelter (whose mother was probably shot by a hunter)! These are people trying to make a buck off of animals & it didn’t work out like they planned. Now they’re trying to hit the jackpot with a lawsuit.

    Gotta love the way they’re portrayed as disabled for sympathy & using animals is their only way to make money. Grow a garden for crying out loud — the yard is zoned for that & plants don’t stink!

    • PaxMentis

      Reading comprehension is obviously a problem here, so I will try to clarify for you.

      There was no mention of any need for calcium or any allergy to cow’s milk. The woman suffers from IBS and raw goat milk has been found to alleviate the symptoms…whereas medical science has as yet found no effective treatment or cure.

      Also, the land upon which the goats are kept is zoned agriculture, which includes animal husbandry…possibly a dictionary would be helpful for you.

      Your ASSumption that the neighbor is more credible than the owner with regard to odor is par for the course for a believer in the all-controlling liberal agenda which says that one must conduct their home and business for the convenience of others in spite of their own needs and desires.

      How in the world did you get misdirected to this site? You are obviously no friend of liberty and one wonders why such an obvious statist would have any interest in such a liberty oriented site.

      • blakmira

        If these people were just growing a garden like the Garden of Eden that got raided, I’d be 100% on their side. If being a “friend of liberty” [LOL] for humans means being able to use and abuse animals for your own selfish needs and profit, then count me out.

        You know NOTHING about nutrition. In fact, you’re so full of crap that you must be suffering with IBS yourself. Drinking another species milk – especially as an adult – doesn’t “cure” anything, you moron! You think being human allows you to remove liberties from animals? No, it just makes you an apathetic asshole.

        Oh, I’m sure you’re familiar with animal husbandry — it’s a step up the ladder from bestiality, which you’re probably really familiar with.

        • http://www.hoopsu.com Tony Alfonso

          Having goat’s for their milk is “using and abusing” them? You are an idiot.

        • PaxMentis

          Great..another Equality For Cockroaches proponent. Probably a “Spock baby”…

        • Average_Joe56

          blakmira,

          While it is nice that you have an opinion, so does everyone else. Opinion is the only thing that you’ve offered up. No cites, no links to support your “theories” and “rants”…absolutely nothing but “your” opinion…..

          Your opinion and $5 will get you a cup of coffee in some places….this isn’t one of those places.

          Now, since opinions are like a$$holes, “everybody has one”… please stop talking out of yours…….

          “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”
          Robert A. Heinlein

    • Hoegk

      It’s been proven that people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowels and even ulcers can greatly benefit from raw goats milk. Open your mind a little

      • blakmira

        You’re 100% wrong.

        People are “lactose intolerant” because they shouldn’t be drinking milk from another species. Period.

        My source? The great American pediatrician, most revered baby doctor of all time, Dr. Benjamin Spock, who was totally against the milk of any animal in the human diet and advocated plant-based food. He didn’t recommend it for babies and he certainly didn’t recommend it for adults.

        What should I open my mind about? That it’s ok to use and abuse animals and fabricate reasons why it’s necessary? You need to stop getting your propaganda from dairy farmers.

        • l7am5or

          Truth of the matter is, you don’t get to make those decisions for people. I wouldn’t buy milk from the store, regardless of source, be it animal or vegetable. I’ll raise my own animals, drink my own milk, and if this country puts an end to that freedom, I’ll make sure your freedoms to grow a garden go first. Your propaganda, and liberty-for-me-none-for-thee attitude are why we’re losing this country. I, for one, am sick of it.

    • yumadlh

      I could not drink my mother’s milk so the doctor suggested getting a goat. I was raised on goat’s milk. This is not the same situation she finds herself in. As for the flies. Get fly traps or make them. Grow cabbage and tell me it does not stink. People these days are too easily offended. They have lost their humility. Lay off chemicals like GMO foods.

      • smacca

        Exactly. Maybe the neighbors should have move to a condo. People are so isolated now from reality.

        • youdont wannaknow

          Forget the condo… just give them a capsule large enough for a bed, fold away table, and a toilet. No windows, either… we’d hate for them to see something upsetting walking/riding/jogging by them.

    • john_hurd

      You eat “greens” on your cold cereal in the morning??????? I’d like to watch you swallow your vitamins with a glass of “greens”…..!

    • rcon1

      Hello UN troll- Its called private property not “for the greater good” communitarian property. If the neighbors were harmed they have tort law to settle any property conversion problems, no need for nanny state.

    • billy woods

      The property is zoned for AG Exemptions. Which includes animals. Each AG Exemption is different. The exemption determines the quantity. This couple met the AG Exemption.

      “blakmira”! You do realize? The neighbors have the same AG Exemptions. WTF! Why would you buy a home in an AG Exempt area when you know you don’t like animals. That is the STUPIDITY of the neighbors! If they did not read their Deed then that is no-ones problem but their own and the City Officials will lose this fight unless they eminent domain the entire block and strike the AG Exemption.

  • T-dub

    Who is ready for more ‘legal’ thievery? Bastiat warned the world of it in his essay The Law. Time we stand our ground like the Griffins and support honext representatives that actually care about the constitution and what it really means to follow it.

    • Houston Retrievers

      Sure take a sign to a gun fight.

  • poptoy1949

    Every time I read about the Northeast States it is something like this…..has good old common sense left that part of the world? Leave the people alone. All they want to do is live their lives. Too Damned many regulations and Agenda 21 is a UN concoction and has no business here in the states. Good people are getting tired of all this crap…..one day the powers that be are going to push just a little too far and start something they will not be able to stop. GOD forbid !!!

    • youdont wannaknow

      Yankees! ;)

    • Houston Retrievers

      more like God willing.

    • Rich Fontaine

      I am their friend and been there thru it all trying to help them….
      Well the thing is you all dont know about this whole story. The neighbor had a beef with their son taking beers from the neighbors cooler ouside and he found out and kicked him out of the house for stealing from the neighbors, he was in his 20′s no excuse so the neighbor took it out on the couple for no reason, they did nothing, they had the goats for about 2 years and never one complaint until then, so now TWO YEARS later the goats smell, and come to find out the neighbor works for the town of agawam, it was a personal vendeta, and the town was bias, ever since then they went thru hell, the town didnt care until this started with the neighbor, the other neighbor says they cant smell anythinig so in the mean time the rights have been violated and the judge is friends with the town attorney. Well were have a support group now and some who know the law are filling a new case in the federal court and the corruption will come to light, you see everyone telling their stories but now you are reading ot from the horces mouth. Keep watching you will see whats next and now people are mailing them donations and big companies, the truth will come out trust me. and yes she needs the raw goats milk and NO stores or farms can not sell goats milk for human consumption its illegal because it has bacteria in it they can only give it for animals ONLY!!! she needs that bacteria in the milk which helps her disease. you want to know more or donate to help this couple email me for more info
      [email protected]
      Thank you all for your time and I hope this helps you all underdstand the truth.
      Thanks and God Bless

  • smacca

    I’m wondering why the town has not been named in this article. I’ll have to now look up the town. I live in MA and I’m pretty sure it’s legal to buy raw milk at a farm but not in the store. At least I do. Agenda 21 is as creepy as it can get. How dumb are progressives that they can fall for every assault on human rights put in front of them?

    • Rich Fontaine

      Im there friend helping them with this whole thing
      NO you cant buy RAW goats milk in a store or farm, can only give raw milk to goats animals, because it has a bacteria in it, which it also helps out her disease

  • dan

    you may only live your life as the ‘authority’ sees fit….and that is whatever ‘authority’ is flexing their so called rules ,regulations,zoning,and laws….all of which are designed to CONTROL…you and yours…..as in the minds eye of any ‘authority’ …they own you and yours and you WILL..do what they say or else…..this will only stop when ‘authority’ is ignored and resisted…..enmass….imho

  • Sharon Hansen

    Well now, I have another point of view but it only works for those who believe the Bible to be the word of God. God gave man dominion over all the animals and he frequently asked for animal sacrifices and the people then ate the meat of the animals after they were sacrificed because God told them to. I’m not wild about eating an animal either, I love animals, but that’s MY problem. God made animals for men (and women too) to eat. People who don’t want to eat animals don’t have to. But they really should refrain from calling people who do eat meat names because God says it’s okay to eat meat. If God says it’s okay, I’m not going to argue that point with anyone. I have no opinion on the people with the goats, just the guy who got so enraged about people drinking goats milk. I happen to like almond milk because it tastes good, doesn’t bother me, and is lower in calories than cow skim milk. I don’t like skim cow milk even though it’s less expensive.

  • billy woods

    The property is zoned for AG Exemptions.

    Which includes animals. Each AG Exemption is different. The
    exemption determines the quantity. This couple met the AG Exemption.
    The neighbors have the same AG Exemptions.

    WTF! Why would you buy a home in an AG Exempt area when you
    know you don’t like animals. That is the STUPIDITY of the neighbors! If
    they did not read their Deed then that is no-ones problem but their own
    and the City Officials will lose this fight unless they eminent domain
    the entire block and strike the AG Exemption.
    This case is about AGENDA 21. Taking Private Property and it is happening all over America. Welcome to SLAVELANDIA!

    • youdont wannaknow

      You got me why these people complain about these things. Around here we call them Yankees – which is less about where you are from and more about your mindset. Most our “yankees” come from Florida! LOL

      • billy woods

        I feel your pain. You Can’t Fix Stupid!

      • Houston Retrievers

        Its not about where you are from or where you live. People are the same everywhere. Since WWII things have gotten bad in this country because boys are raised by their mommy’s. They don’t know where their balls stop and their vaginas start. Where I live there is an ordinance of no farm animals, yet dozens of people have chickens. I told the neighbor I wanted to get a horse, they said “cant have farm animals”, then turned around built a coop and now have a rooster and chickens lol. But that’s okay, people like that get theirs in the end.

      • Joseph Slabaugh

        Think of the “Yankees” as a PAC. They were not just “Northerners”, they were a political group that used slavery as an issue to attack States Rights.

  • Kevin Merck

    Those goats probably smell better than the neighbors who complained :)

    • Patrick McIntyre

      Who will pay for the BIG settlement? Taxpayers? Me? You? Honest hard working people will be further taxed to settle this issue that we had nothing to do with. And if we refuse to pay the tax? Then they send men with guns to take away everything that we have worked hard to earn. Hardly seems like freedom and liberty to me. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • Kevin Merck

        Get off your high horse.
        A huge judgment would send a clear message to stop harassing law abiding citizens.
        In a perfect world only people like you, who don’t understand that, would have to pay the damages.

        • Patrick McIntyre

          The problem is that you don’t understand how things work in the real world. Because of your abundant ignorance coupled with your blatant arrogance we end up fighting amongst ourselves instead of against the things that created the problems in the first place. Don’t Tread On Me.

          • Kevin Merck

            You shot your mouth off, punk.
            Now shut up and take your medicine like a man.

          • Patrick McIntyre

            You only prove my point further and you’re too stupid to know when you have lost.

          • Joseph Slabaugh

            No, you lost. Sorry to say it, but Kevin is right, its about sending a message to towns not to mess with property rights.

          • Patrick McIntyre

            Sorry but you missed the point as well. I have goats of my own and live in a small town and I am a huge proponent for property rights. The problem isn’t about that at all. It’s all about how suing a city only punishes the citizens. Mostly people who had nothing to do with the injustice in the first place will be the ones to be burdened to pay a lawsuit. The person responsible will not pay for it. The only winners will be the lawyers on both sides. And if you think a city will learn a thing about a message you think it would send then you are dumber than a Kevin Merck.

          • Joseph Slabaugh

            No, I get your point, but in reality, they are accountable to those people in that district, and if they loose money, they cant do their pet projects, and may be voted out by the fellow towns people, for their actions that resulted in this suit in the first place.

  • Dude

    The paid Trolls have flooded the comments with nonsense!

  • jojo david

    People need to realize . When it comes to property. You own NOTHING !. You only paid for the rights to stay there. You must obey the governments rules and If you don’t pay your state or local property taxes. The government will seize your property. Its all a big scam that has been played on us by the government for decades and decades to come..

  • Houston Retrievers

    People that live around you will always find a reason to aggravate you. The sponge bob mentality meets the simpsons mentality.

  • Rich Fontaine

    I am their friend and been there thru it all trying to help them….

    Well the thing is you all dont know about this whole story. The neighbor had a beef with their son taking beers from the neighbors cooler ouside and he found out and kicked him out of the house for stealing from the neighbors, he was in his 20′s no excuse so the neighbor took it out on the couple for no reason, they did nothing, they had the goats for about 2 years and never one complaint until then, so now TWO YEARS later the goats smell, and come to find out the neighbor works for the town of agawam, it was a personal vendeta, and the town was bias, ever since then they went thru hell, the town didnt care until this started with the neighbor, the other neighbor says they cant smell anythinig so in the mean time the rights have been violated and the judge is friends with the town attorney. Well were have a support group now and some who know the law are filling a new case in the federal court and the corruption will come to light, you see everyone telling their stories but now you are reading ot from the horces mouth. Keep watching you will see whats next and now people are mailing them donations and big companies, the truth will come out trust me. and yes she needs the raw goats milk and NO stores or farms can not sell goats milk for human consumption its illegal because it has bacteria in it they can only give it for animals ONLY!!! she needs that bacteria in the milk which helps her disease. you want to know more or donate to help this couple email me for more info

    [email protected]

    Thank you all for your time and I hope this helps you all underdstand the truth.

    Thanks and God Bless

  • Joseph Slabaugh

    Almost makes you want to move to the country again. Cant live in an area that has this much control over land use.

  • Dennis85

    “progressive ideal” unveils the kook.