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Agawam Couple Fights to Keep Goats, Sues Town for $2 Million

photo(2)AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB) — Caramella is just one of the goats Alan and Sue Griffin care for.

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.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • bigdug

    As I recall from the past coverage of this story, the Griffins live in an area zoned residential. The original complaint was not just smell but also the noise from the animals. Where the Griffins live is not an area appropriate for this type of animal. Their proximity to their neighbors is close.

  • berto

    If my neighbor had goats I’d be pissed lol

  • kraszy

    If anyone here had ever met these people, the comments might be a little different. The Griffins have been thrown out of many restaurants and other businesses. They are rude hateful people who should just be thrown out of town along with their goats. I have met them and do not feel for them one bit.

  • bigdug

    They live on a main heavily travelled road in town. It’s not even about growing your own food. They do not live on a large parcel of land. They were lucky the town was willing to allow them to have 7. It is not fair to their neighbors. I feel for them. It is an eyesore and it does stink. The Griffins are looking for $$ and we as residents will pay for it one way or another.

  • dontcrankmeoff

    Look at that mess! If I were a neighbor I would be irate too. He simply has WAY too many goats as you can see in the video.

    • alpinequeen

      I’m surprised you didn’t advocate medical marijuana in this case, Dr. Dontcrankmeoff!