Agawam Couple Fights to Keep Goats, Sues Town for $2 Million
As they feed her pieces of wheat bread, they just can’t imagine that she; along with their 14 other goats might be taken away by the federal court.
Real Estate Broker Richard Fontaine agreed to take on the Griffin’s case, citing previous wins in housing court against attorneys. “September 9th, he’s got a letter, saying that they’re going to come and take the goats away. Like the last time, they said the same thing, but their intentions were to kill the goats, and we believe that’s the same intentions this time,” Fontaine said.
On Thursday, the Griffins filed suit with Springfield’s U.S. District Court, to the tune of $2 million.
They claim that the town discriminating against them because they’re disabled, and violating their civil rights by asking them to get rid of the herd. “His wife, she needs the goat’s milk because her doctor wrote down that she needs to have fresh goat’s milk for her disease, which is Colitis,” stated Fontaine.
Neighbors first complained about the goats in 2006. Since then, the Griffins say they’ve been put through mental anguish and stress because of it. According to Fontaine, the town is concerned that the goats will attract insects and disease.
The town’s bylaws, state that the keeping and raising poultry, livestock, & pigeons for table or other purposes are prohibited.
Assistant town solicitor Patrick Toney says the town can’t comment on the matter because it’s currently in litigation.
The case is being fought in 3 courts, Federal, Land and Housing.
Fontaine thinks that the amount of money they’re suing for could grow to $10 million because of their disability.
A hearing is scheduled at the state housing court in Springfield on September 9th, on whether or not the goats can be removed from the property.