AUBURN — After making an emotional plea to city officials, an Auburn family may be able to keep its two pet goats. 

A few weeks ago, after initially receiving an OK from the city to keep the small goats as pets, the Tripp family of Merrow Road was informed that the city had overlooked an ordinance that prohibits the animals.  

The City Council will consider an amendment to that ordinance Monday, which if approved, would allow the family — and especially 7-year-old Adele and 8-year-old Elijah — to keep their pets. 

Both children, along with their parents and other family members, have made a few appearances at recent City Council meetings, asking the city to correct its mistake. Audrey Tripp and her husband, Nathan, bought the goats for their children after receiving permission from Eric Cousens, deputy director of planning and code enforcement. 

Soon after, a police officer arrived at their home, which is near the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport. A neighbor had complained about noise and odor, and the officer cited a section of the city’s ordinance regarding animal control. Goats are not permitted in lot sizes smaller than one acre, and the Tripp’s is 0.39 acres.

At recent council meetings, the family has said the animals barely make sound and emit no odors, and said taking away the pets now would be devastating to the children. Other family members and friends told councilors of how well the pets are cared for.


At the previous council meeting, Audrey Tripp said her children are now constantly worried about losing the pets. 

As recently as last week, officials were discussing how to address the issue. Some thought the least the city could do would be to reimburse the family the $2,400 cost of the Nigerian dwarf goats. The family declined. 

Audrey Tripp’s father, Earl Bickford, who also lives in Auburn, originally brought the issue to the council this spring. He has continually urged the council to “correct the city’s mistake in a way that’s fair.” He has also circulated a petition throughout the city, gaining easy support in the wards surrounding the Tripps’ neighborhood. 

The council will discuss the ordinance changes during a 5:30 p.m. workshop Monday. According to Cousens’ memo to the council, there has been “much discussion regarding the possible relief to the Tripp family” out of “a desire to clarify our ordinances.”

Cousens looked at the ordinance with Auburn’s animal control officer and the city attorney. He recommends that the council “amend Chapter 8 of the code of ordinances to remove the separate 1-acre lot requirement for the keeping of livestock, add a reference to an ‘animal farm’ as defined by the code, and simplify the remaining language in Section 8-264.”

If supported by the City Council, an official vote on the amendments is likely to come at a subsequent meeting.

Audrey Tripp and her children, Elijah, 8, and Adele, 7, play with Cecilly, a baby Nigerian dwarf goat at their Auburn home. The Tripp family was initially given permission from the city to keep two goats as pets, then the city found it went against ordinance. On Monday, the City Council will discuss an amendment to the ordinance to allow the goats to stay. 

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