ST. PETERSBURG — A young couple will be allowed to keep their miniature goat and sheep while the city works to adjust its rules regarding farm animals, officials said Thursday.
Winston Fiore and his girlfriend, Rachel Auer, brought home Shelby, a miniature Shetland sheep, and Gabby, a Nigerian dwarf goat, earlier this fall.
The twentysomethings didn't know their pets were against city code until last month, when an inspector sent a letter.
The couple went to City Hall to ask for an exception. They essentially got one Thursday, when council members asked attorneys to amend the existing ordinance that prohibits livestock from being within 100 feet of houses.
Fiore and Auer say their neighbors don't mind Shelby and Gabby, which are about as big as medium-sized dogs and make little noise. They also keep the couple's back yard, in the Lake Euclid neighborhood, manicured.
City Attorney Mark Winn said because the council plans to change the rules, the current code violation against Fiore — which had a deadline of Dec. 28 — is basically suspended.
In addition to Fiore's issue, officials on Thursday also directed staffers to start crafting regulations that would allow urban farming to take place in the city.
Council chairman Karl Nurse raised the issue months ago after seeing a surge in interest from residents and groups interested in growing and selling items such as vegetables and eggs. Nurse and other members of the public services and infrastructure committee meeting told staffers to seek solutions at the city level while simultaneously seeking approval for zoning changes at the county level.