Berlin Woman Fights For Pet Goat

The town will now consider changing its animal ordinance.

A dwarf goat named Benny has been living in a backyard pen at 452 New Britain Road in Berlin for five years, but in December, his owner was notified that her quarter acre of land is too small for a goat.

Zoning regulations require three acres, but Sheri Sala is fighting to keep Benny and got some unexpected help on Tuesday when a town board agreed to look into the zoning issues at the heart of the ordeal.

"No one has three acres in this town unless you have a farm. That goes back to 1965," said Sala.

Sala stepped in to take care of Benny when he was young.

"His mom wouldn't feed him so I took him in to bottle feed him for six weeks and he's been with me ever since," Sala said.

And, she has been fighting the zoning that would prohibit her from keeping the goat and she has received lots of support.

Hundreds of people have "liked" a Facebook page about Benny's plight. Meanwhile, three dozen Benny supporters have been writing to town officials, saying Benny should stay.

"We have received a lot of letters. A lot of people have had concerns about this," Helen Riggins, Berlin's director of development, said.

On Tuesday night, Sala planned to ask the Berlin Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance to keep Benny. However, before she could speak Bruce Moore, the planning and zoning commission chairman, asked the board of appeals to table the issue while the Planning & Zoning Commission decides whether the ordinance needs to be changed.The Zoning Board  then voted unanimously to table the issue.

"I'm not sure what they're going to say, but it's kind of a good thing that they are going to study it," Tony Fracanlangia, the Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman, said. That means Benny can stay, for now, but Sala isn't declaring victory.

"No it's not. It's just postponing. It's still waiting," Sala said.

It's unclear when the Planning and Zoning Commission will take up the issue and how long the process could take. 

If Sala can't keep Benny in Berlin, she'll move to a town where she can keep him.

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