Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete couple fight to keep their mini goat and sheep

ST. PETERSBURG

Winston Fiore and his girlfriend, Rachel Auer, haven't mowed their lawn in months.

That's a job for Shelby and Gabby.

Shelby, a miniature Shetland sheep, and Gabby, a Nigerian dwarf goat, love munching on grass. Their owners love not having to use a machine to manicure their lot. The neighbors — especially the neighborhood kids — are equally enamored of the miniature breeds.

The city codes department? Not so much.

After seeing Shelby and Gabby in the back yard this month, city inspector Robert Hicks issued Fiore a violation.

St. Petersburg has an ordinance against livestock (goats, horses and cattle included) within 100 feet of a residence. Shelby and Gabby must go, the letter said.

Fiore, 28, and Auer, 27, are fighting back.

The couple, who moved here from Chicago this past summer, say Shelby and Gabby are their pets. They're smaller than some medium-sized dogs (just fluffier). They don't make much noise (they're more of the cute, silent type). And they've already saved Fiore and Auer money on landscaping. They don't even smell that bad.

"Across the United States — Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco — cities allows this," Fiore said in a plea before the City Council on Monday. "I think it would be great if we could revisit this ordinance, or at least make an exception."

Indeed, city officials have before. City Attorney Mark Winn reminded officials at the meeting Monday that the city bent the rules for potbellied pigs, which have been allowed in St. Petersburg since 1992.

"I'm sure we can figure out a way for him to keep (Shelby and Gabby) if that's what the council wants to do," Winn said.

City leaders would have to amend the current code.

Fiore, a former Marine who recently completed an urban agriculture apprenticeship up North, hopes that will happen.

Shelby and Gabby, who grew up on a north Georgia petting farm, are a hit here in Fiore's Lake Euclid neighborhood, just north of 22nd Avenue N and west of 16th Street. Residents slip them treats through the fence. The pair, both females, already found plenty of work to do in the back yard, which once had knee-high weeds and grass. It's now mostly flat, with some shin-high clumps remaining.

Auer, who is doing a speech pathology fellowship at Bay Pines VA Medical Center, and Fiore hope to eventually grow their brood. Once Shelby and Gabby get the yard in better shape, they want to add chickens, rabbits, maybe a pig. All are allowed in the city.

At the suggestion of council Chairman Karl Nurse, Fiore plans to go to a council committee meeting next month that will include a discussion about urban farming. He has already been in touch with council member Leslie Curran.

The city originally told the couple they had until Thursday to get rid of Shelby and Gabby. Officials recently gave them 30 more days.

"They've been anything but a nuisance," Fiore said Tuesday, after feeding Shelby and Gabby a banana and carrot snack. They're "the most low-maintenance pets ever."

The neighbor's dogs pressed their faces to the chain link fence and whimpered. They got a treat, too.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8643. Follow her on Twitter @cornandpotatoes.

St. Pete couple fight to keep their mini goat and sheep 11/26/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”