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Settlement Allows Teen To Keep Goats

BATAVIA, OHIO--David Valentine can keep his goats.

That announcement came two years after the boy's parents, Dale and Patricia, filed a lawsuit against Miami Township officials over his right to raise the goats as a reasonable accommodation for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week.

On August 16, Clermont County Judge William Walker approved the settlement of that suit, which allows the 13-year-old to keep two goats, named Blessing and D.J., until he turns 18, graduates from high school, or no longer needs the goats for his medical therapy.

For their part, the Valentine family must maintain a six-foot-high privacy fence that they built in February, and provide documentation each year from David's doctor indicating that tending the goats is still therapeutic for him.

The township took legal action against the family in 2003 to force them to get rid of the goats after some neighbors complained to the Board of Zoning Appeals that having the goats violated zoning codes. Those codes allowed dogs, cats, birds, mice, gerbils, ferrets, hamsters, minks, rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, turtles, lizards, iguanas, snakes of less than 6 feet and pot-bellied pigs as household pets -- but no goats.

Judge Walker ruled earlier this year that keeping the goats in fact did violate the zoning codes. The family pressed for an exemption to the rules as an accommodation under federal fair housing laws.

Dale Valentine said he hopes the family moves to a farm away from Miami Township before David turns 18.

No one will get his goats (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.

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