published Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Sister wins round in feud over Soddy-Daisy livestock ordinance

Brenda Smith, a Soddy-Daisy woman
Brenda Smith, a Soddy-Daisy woman
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Cecil Smith the brother of Brenda Smith, a Soddy-Daisy woman who has 22 pygmy goats
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Soddy-Daisy commissioners hope a long-standing feud between two siblings over a herd of goats finally will be put out to pasture after approving a specially crafted ordinance Thursday night.

The ordinance effectively will allow Brenda Smith, 65, to keep her 22 pygmy goats in a pen outside her home on Morningside Drive until they die off, forcing her 72-year-old brother -- Cecil Smith, who lives across the street -- to put up with what he calls a "public nuisance."

Current law mandates that livestock is not allowed within city limits. But the law, drafted in 2005, included a condition specifically for Smith: Reduction by attrition, with the expectation that, one by one, Brenda Smith's goats would die and she would not be allowed to replace them.

But they haven't died.

The new ordinance basically allows anyone who can prove that livestock has been on the property for the last 10 years may keep them until the animals die, but may not replace them, City Attorney Sam Elliott explained.

Brenda Smith says the new ordinance is a huge relief, allowing her to keep the animals she calls her "babies."

"There's no sense the issue going like this as it has, but sometimes you've got to stand up for what you think is right," she said.

Mayor Jim Adams and Vice Mayor Janice Cagle voted against the measure, while Commissioners Shane Harmon, Rick Nunley and Gene Shipley voted for it.

During the meeting, however, Cecil Smith took one last stand against the measure, presenting Harmon and Shipley with certificates stating he had bought and donated two goats in their names to Heifer International, an organization that distributes livestock to needy families around the globe.

Cecil Smith said he also purchased one for Nunley, but it hasn't been delivered yet. He said he spent $360 for the goat gifts to "make a point."

"It's to show them what a goat is supposed to be for. Goat's aren't pets. She has sold them on this personal business, and that's just not what it's about. I'd like a better and clean neighborhood," he said.

The commissioners smiled and shook their heads after being presented with the certificates.

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