RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Renee Furst’s Corrales home, the Corrales Kids Ranch, is where you can find a unique herd of her prizewinning Pygmy goats.
“This is a miniature breed, a true dwarf breed,” Furst said.
Pygmy goats are about the size of a dog and live about 10 to 15 years. Furst says they’re friendly to people and make great pets, but when people from one New Mexico city come to see her looking to adopt one or two, she has to say no.
“In Rio Rancho it’s not allowed,” Furst said. “I’ve always thought it was a silly rule. I don’t see why anyone couldn’t have them in their backyard.”
Current Rio Rancho law requires a person to have at least one acre of land in more rural parts of the city to keep any goats, no matter the size.
But a new proposal backed by city councilors Dawnn Robinson, Cheryl Everett and Shelby Smith that’s set to be introduced on Wednesday would change that. It would amend the law so that Pygmy goats and Nigerian Dwarf goats would be treated the same as dogs or cats under city law, meaning they’d be allowed in a lot more neighborhoods.
The ordinance would also loosen restrictions on keeping chickens in the city, only requiring a person living there have a half-acre lot.
Councilor Smith tells KRQE News 13 in a phone interview that the animal issue first came up while he was campaigning. He says several people brought the issue of backyard chickens to his attention. In working on the issue, the proposal was expanded to loosen laws on Pygmy goats.
“They act a great deal like dogs is my understanding,” Smith said.
Smith says he hopes the changes will give residents more freedom and might even attract some people to town.
KRQE News 13 spoke to a number of Rio Rancho residents about the idea at a dog park.
“That’s different,” said Steve Feuerbach. “I’d rather see the infrastructure taken care of than Pygmy goats and chickens.”
Many were open to the idea of more chickens and Pygmy goats in Rio Rancho, but weren’t sure how neighborhood groups would feel about it.
“I’d want chickens in an area that’s away from subdivisions and places like that because of the noise,” said Marty Gissinger.
“I doubt if my homeowners association would go along with that,” said Ray Martinez.
“[Pygmy goats] can’t be any worse than some of the dogs we’ve got around, dogs that bark and bark and bark all day and all night,” Feuerbach said.
The ordinance is set to be introduced and get its first reading at Wednesday’s Rio Rancho City Council meeting.
More information on Pygmy goats is available at the New Mexico Pygmy Goat Club’s website.