Stanley the goat has been given a reprieve of sorts.
Tiny Township resident Jo-Anne Miller has avoided having to comply with an end of May deadline that would have forced her to find a new place for Stanley to live following a complaint to the municipality last month.
Michela Mucciaccio, who is one of Miller’s friends helping her through the process, said they met with planning and development director Shawn Persaud Monday to discuss options for rectifying the situation.
“The meeting we had with Shawn Persaud was very productive and we all feel better about it moving forward,” Mucciaccio said. “It has been decided that we, Jo-Anne’s team, will be filing for a minor variance that will then be presented in front of the committee of adjustment.
"We don’t know yet when this application will be done or when it will be ready to be reviewed by the committee, but the understanding between us and the township is that regardless of the committee’s decision, Stanley will be staying with Jo-Anne in the meantime.”
In a request for comment following the meeting, Persaud replied via email that Tiny is responding to a complaint received “and as I am sure you can appreciate the Township cannot comment on open enforcement matters in any specific terms.”
The group of friends came together after Miller received a visit from Tiny’s bylaw department May 9 to tell her that Stanley doesn’t belong in the Cawaja Beach neighbourhood under a zoning bylaw.
Miller said that besides being her best friend, Stanley serves as an emotional support animal, who aids with her depression.
She also has a doctor's note to that effect from Dr. Adrian Stacy that reads "the goat provides her with emotional support, and she feels it has a positive impact on her mood."
Originally, Mucciaccio said they thought they would have to apply for a zoning amendment since the property is currently zoned shoreline residential while a township municipal law enforcement officer noted during the early May visit that Miller can’t keep the goat since having Stanley falls under the definition of a ‘hobby farm.’
"Should the property be used as a Hobby Farm after the re-inspection date (May 30), evidence will be gathered with respect to laying of charges in this matter," the officer concluded in correspondence obtained by MidlandToday.
"Failure to comply by May 30, will leave the Township no option but to commence legal proceedings pursuant to the Planning Act and Zoning Bylaw 06-001, as amended."
Mucciaccio said the main difference between the rezoning and minor variance is the price.
“Rezoning would cost between $4,000 and $5,000 whereas the minor variance should cost under $1,000,” she said. “The minor variance also won’t require as much work as rezoning, and would have more conditions attached to it.”
Mucciaccio said the outpouring of support for Stanley has been overwhelming.
“We are very surprised and humbled by how much support we’ve had from all over the place- the petition has hit 7,000 signatures and we are hoping to get more before the meeting with the committee of adjustment happens,” she said.
“The more support we can show, the better the chances are that the committee will vote in favour of it.”
During a recent visit to her modest quarter-acre property, Miller told MidlandToday that Stanley has been her pet since the day she rescued him last year as a six-week-old kid from a dairy farm near Craighurst since male goats would normally be slaughtered.
“He’s a good pet and people love him. I take him on walks. He sleeps inside my home and has his own room. This has just been a nightmare."
Ever since that fateful day, the pair have been inseparable and have become a popular sight for both children and adults living in the Cawaja Beach area. Stanley’s friends include a wide array of dogs with whom he sometimes lies as they peacefully take in some sunshine while watching the world go by.
“Never ever did I think there would be a problem,” Miller said. “There’s been one complaint and it’s not like those from the township had never seen him before.”