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Are goats allowed in Wilmington or New Hanover County?

Jim Ware

Phoebe, owned by Cindy and Dale Brodeur, lived just outside Wilmington city limits before the Brodeur's home was annexed. StarNews file photo.

New Hanover County does not regulate livestock such as goats, horses and chickens, said Steven Still, senior compliance official with the county planning and inspections office.

It’s a different story in Wilmington, where the city code specifically prohibits keeping livestock without a permit.

“For the purposes of this section, livestock shall include horse, mules, cows, pigs, hogs, goats, sheep, and all other animals that typically are kept primarily for productive or useful purposes rather than as pets,” according to the code.

Even then, there are restrictions.

“No permit may be issued for any livestock unless the applicant for the permit demonstrates that the livestock will be kept on a tract of land that satisfies each of the following conditions:

“The tract shall consist of at least 40,000 square feet of land under single ownership or control;

“There shall be at least 20,000 square feet of land per animal;

“No barn or building that houses the animal shall be erected or maintained within 25 feet of any property line.”

There’s an exception for the stabling of horses used in the operation of a vehicle for hire, such as carriage rides.

The code enforcement officer can deny permits for a few reasons:

“The animal for which the permit is requested poses a substantial danger of harm to any person, animal or property; or

“The animal for which the permit is requested is likely to or does interfere seriously with the use and enjoyment of neighboring properties because of offensive noise or odor or for other reasons; or

“The animal for which the license is requested otherwise constitutes a threat to the public or safety.”

To see Sec. 6-2.1. of Wilmington’s city code, “Permits for wild animals and livestock,” click here.

To report a violation of the code in Wilmington, contact city Code Enforcement at (910) 341-3266For complaints about animal cruelty or treatment, contact the New Hanover County Animal Services Unit, click here.

So what can a reader do if his/her neighbor decides to keep a goat at their home?

If your neighbor is keeping a goat in Wilmington legally, city Zoning Administrator John Fullerton has some suggestions for how to cope:

a. Ask for some of the milk.

b. Offer to remove all the “goat droppings” and use as fertilizer.

c. Buy enough land so you can have one or two also.

d. Let them eat your grass.

…. Just a few ideas.


The monkey question: Why were there Pender County deputies at Camelia Drive in Rocky Point on April 24?

Is there a law that bans pets, other than service animals, from stores?

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One Response to “ Are goats allowed in Wilmington or New Hanover County?”

  1. On June 24, 2012 at 1:28 am Rauri wrote: