Can you have Goats (and other hoofed animals) in your Backyard in Georgia?


Below is a look at the laws relating to goat ownership in a few of Georgia’s most populous location. The locations that will be discussed include:

  • Atlanta
  • Savannah
  • Augusta
  • Macon

Atlanta

In Atlanta (or ‘ATL’ as it is also known) the ownership of backyard goats may be allowed under particular circumstances.

Below is an extract taken from Chapter 18 of the city’s municipal code. It outlines the regulations around owning goats within the city’s limits. It also covers horses, cows and sheep as well. See below:

‘Sec. 18-39. – Keeping hoofed animals.

Hoofed animals, such as horses, cows, goats, sheep and the like, may be kept within the city limits, subject to the following:

(1) Housing and enclosures.

All these animals must be provided with adequate housing, pens or enclosures. Floor space in such housing, pens or enclosures must have the following minima:

  • a. Horses, mules, asses or cows, 200 square feet per animal over four months of age.
  • b. Sheep or goats, 150 square feet per animal over four months of age.

(2) Location.

Housing, pens or enclosures where such animals are kept shall be placed at the following minimum distances from any residence or any business establishment regularly used by large numbers of people:

  • a. Distance from any residence except that of owner, 150 feet.
  • b. Distance from nearest business establishment, 150 feet.
  • c. Distance from owner’s residence, 25 feet.

(3) Maximum number.

The maximum number of such animals which may be kept on a single premises shall not exceed the following:

  • a. Horses, mules, asses or cows, five.
  • b. Sheep or goats, ten.

(4) Application to city property.

The provisions of this section 18-39 shall not apply when the livestock and/or hoofed animals are located on property owned or leased by the city.

(Code 1977, § 14-4009; Ord. No. 2007-02, § 1, 1-22-07)

For more information about the laws relating to animal ownership in Atlanta please review Chapter 18 of the city’s municipal code. It can again be found here.

Savannah

Below is an extract from the city of Savannah’s Animal Ordinance that outlines the regulations relating to owning huffed animals in your backyard, including goats:

Sec. 9-5068. Other livestock.

Other livestock, such as cows, sheep, goats, etc. kept for personal, non-commercial, purposes may be permitted provided the following requirements are met:

a. Number of livestock: One livestock per 1000 square feet of high ground will be permitted, provided, however, the maximum number of livestock permitted is five.

b. Minimum parcel size. Livestock shall not be kept on parcels less than two acres in size.

c. Waver of minimum parcel size. The Animal control Unit Commander or his/her designee may waive the minimum parcel size in cases where the animal(s) have appropriate shelter, food, and is generally well cared for

d. Minimum setback requirements. The minimum setback of the livestock habitat shall be 100 feet from any occupied building except the dwelling unit of the owner.

e. Maximum number of other livestock: More than 10 other livestock will constitute a non-personal, commercial use and must meet all zoning and other regulations. ‘

The city of Savannah’s Animal Ordinance can be found on the city’s website here. It is recommend you read through this and get in contact with the city if you want to go through with owning one or more four legged farm animal in your backyard, goats or otherwise.

Augusta

Regarding ‘The Garden City’ that rests near the South Carolina border, there is a Title 4 Public Health document from the city that lays out the rules of goat and other hoofed animal ownership in the city:

‘ Sec. 4-1-51.

Stock pens, etc., allowed by per-mission of board of health only;removal and abatement.It shall be unlawful for any person to establish,keep or maintain any stock pen, or place of like character, for stock, cattle, hogs, sheep or goats,or any like purpose, in the Urban Services District, except by the permission and under the direction of the board of health. In place of any action imposing a fine, any court with jurisdiction to enforce this code may, acting under the provision made in Sec. 41-2-5 of the Code of Georgia,order the abatement of such stock pen or like place. No case shall be tried under this section except upon institution and prosecution of it by the board of health.

This Public Health document that contains the above extract can be found here.

Macon

To learn about backyard goat ownership in the city of Macon then it is suggested to look at the Macon- Bibb county code of ordinances.

Below is an extract from the ordinances (which can be found here) that relates to ownership of goats:

Domestic animals other than dogs, cats. All horses, mules, cattle, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and other domestic animals or fowl, except dogs and cats, shall be permitted within the area that was formerly the City of Macon only with approval of the director after investigation and determination that such animals will not constitute a public nuisance as defined by sections 15-1 and 15-26(b)(3). If the express approval of the director is obtained, then such animals may be kept but they shall be confined by the owner in a secure enclosure and shall not be permitted to run at large, to trespass upon the premises of any person, or to otherwise injure and damage the property of any person. The restrictions of this subsection shall not apply to the area that was formerly unincorporated Bibb County.

Conclusion on Georgia backyard goat laws

Many parts of Georgia are pretty good for allowing individuals have goats in their backyard. In Atlanta, you are allowed up to 10 goats on a single premises. In Savannah, you can have up to ten on your premises for non-commercial use.

The local government of an area not mentioned above should be contacted directly if you wish to learn more about backyard goat ownership.

***
This article is written for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Sources

  • Atlanta Code of Ordinances § 18-39 (2020)
  • Savannah Animal Ordinance (2015)
  • Augusta Richmond Public Health, Title 4 § 4-1-51 (2007)
  • Macron Bibb County Code of Ordinances § 5-6 (2019)

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