Wednesday morning, officers from the City of Detroit seized goats and chickens from a couple’s home on Detroit’s west side. The couple purchased their home in a Detroit neighborhood near Brightmoor for only $2,000 in May. The home is located across the street from a 14,000-acre park by the Rouge River. The low price is common for properties in the area because it is now so neglected that some of it is returning back to nature. David and Sky Brown said that they have no neighbors living nearby. In the distance, arson and violent crime are common, according to Steve Neavling, an investigative journalist for Motor City Muckraker.
Sky told Neavling that Detroit Animal Control officers showed up at their home to seize their three baby pigmy goats and six chickens. According to Neavling, the couple was never issued any warning to remove the animals that they claim are a part of their family.
“She told us she was taking all of our animals,” Sky told the journalist. “I began to cry.”
Detroit has an ordinance against farm animals. In June, Detroit’s ordinance was enforced in the nearby Brightmoor neighborhood, according to a previous Inquisitr report. In that instance, the city gave an urban goat farm, named Idyll Farms Detroit, a warning to remove the goats in advance. That farm was the creation of Mark Spitznagel, CIO and founder of Universa Investments, a six billion dollar hedge fund, according to the Detroit Free Press. Those goats were removed by people at the farm, avoiding confiscation.
Detroit’s decision to enforce the ordinance against Idyll Farms came just over a month after a ruling by the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development that, according to Michigan Small Farm Council, infringed upon Michigan’s backyard and urban farmers’ “Right to Farm.”
According to the Browns, two Detroit police officers were even called to the scene. At first, Sky says she was told she could take the animals back to the farm where she got them. She got the goats in the car quickly and started to drive off. Sky says the animal control officer appeared to be blocking the couple’s car. According to Sky, a couple blocks down the road, she was then pulled over by the two Detroit police officers. Sky recalled the event in a blog post, praising the officers that pulled her over.
“I immediately pulled over to find two extremely friendly and polite Detroit police officers. These men clearly felt for me. I was sobbing and begging them just to help me and let me take my animals to a safe place. The police officers argued with this angry woman for about twenty minutes. They tried to convince her to allow me to take my animals safely out of the city. I applaud these men and am extremely grateful to them.”
She said that despite their efforts to convince the animal control officer to allow the Browns to remove the farm animals themselves, the animal control officer refused the requests. They all drove back to the Detroit home, where all the animals were reportedly seized.
“She then followed us back to my house and chased after my poor chickens with a net. I begged her not to use the net and to let me catch them myself. She refused. She chased them as they squawked in fear. I have never been this devastated or heart broken in my life. These animals were like our children.”
According to the report in the Motor City Muckraker, the Detroit Animal Control officer would not tell the family where the animals were going, but the City of Detroit reserves the right, according to the ordinance, to sell, transfer, euthanize, or dispose of the baby goats and chickens.
“I’m so worried about them,” Sky told the investigative reporter. “They’re probably cold and terrified.”
According to the city’s ordinance, Animal Control is authorized to euthanize, sell, or dispose of any unlawful farm animals. Click On Detroit reported that the Detroit Police Department representative stated that the animals will not be destroyed.
[Photo adapted via Google maps and the Brown’s blog post]