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Durham Farmer Allowed To Continue Raising Boer Goats

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham city leaders seem to have had their hands full with animal issues lately.

First, it was

Dixie, the pot-bellied pig.

Wednesday, it was exotic South African goats. Both are winners.

Ricky Pope of Durham started Wednesday as he starts most of his days -- feeding his herd of South African Boer goats.

His four-legged friends represent a zoning violation in the city of Durham. Pope's family has lived in Durham and raised livestock before the city grew out into Ricky's East Durham neighborhood and annexed this home.

"This farm, this little farm, small farm," he said, "has been in the family for probably over 42 years now."

Pope raises about 50 goats on his three-acre farm -- always believing the activity has been legal. He thought that, because he was farming in Durham before the city annexed the area, he would be grandfathered in, allowed to continue raising livestock.

"I thought I'd make one quick call, explain this, and it would be over," he said.

It was not that easy. And that set up his trip Wednesday to City Hall.

A joint planning committee of Durham City and County took up the issue.

The issue was strictly a city zoning rule. In North Carolina, state law prevents counties from zoning farming pratices.

The issue got the goat of some leaders. But in the end, Pope and his goats won out. The committee decided to recommend a zoning change to allow him to keep his herd.

"Yeah, it is nice to see the little guy win for a change," said Durham City Councilman John Best. "You know, a lot of things look good on paper. But when you actually put it out there in the real world, it affects a lot of people."


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