News & Features

Libby Woman Vows to Fight City to Keep Emotional Support Goat

Janice Bailey says goat named Cinnamon is not bothering anyone

A Libby woman cited for possessing livestock within city limits is vowing to fight what she thinks is unfair treatment toward her and her emotional support goat named Cinnamon. But city officials say the law is the law and Cinnamon has to go.

Janice Bailey got Cinnamon, a 2-year-old Nigerian Dwarf goat, in 2017 not long after her father passed away as a way to cope. Bailey was living in Washington and taking care of her father before he passed. After he died, she decided to move to Libby to be closer to family.

Bailey said she called the city offices before moving to Libby to ask if there were any ordinances regarding emotional support goats and that she was told there was not. However, according to Libby city code, livestock is prohibited within city limits, including goats.

Late last year, a neighbor complained about Bailey’s goat. City police gave her a $100 ticket and ordered her to get rid of Cinnamon. Bailey said she will not comply with the order and is expected to go to trial on May 23. She also wants to speak with the city council about changing the rules regarding animals like Cinnamon.

Bailey said Cinnamon is smaller than a pit bull and never leaves her yard. It has a small shelter in the backyard where it usually stays, unless it’s raining or snowing, and then it comes into Bailey’s house. The animal eats alfalfa, grain and the occasional marshmallow as a special treat. Bailey said Cinnamon is generally quiet, except for baaing when she sees friends or Bailey’s two dogs.

“The dogs can be nosier than Cinnamon,” Bailey said.

Bailey said she has a letter from her counselor stating that Cinnamon is useful as an emotional support animal.

“She’s not livestock,” Bailey said. “She never gets out of the yard. She doesn’t try to get out. I just don’t see what the problem is.”

But Mayor Brent Teske said rules are rules and the livestock ordinance applies to all goats, including emotional support goats.

“This isn’t a new rule,” he said.

Bailey is hopeful that she will win in court and that the city will change the rules to allow emotional support animals. Supporters of Bailey have also offered to give Cinnamon a home if she does have to move the animal, but she hopes it doesn’t come to that.

“Cinnamon would be devastated if she was taken away, and I would be devastated too,” Bailey said.