Can You Own a Goat in California?

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a pet goat wearing a baseball hat and collar

In many US states, including California, goats are generally classified as livestock or farm animals. If you live in an agricultural area, you won't have a problem owning goats, whether it's for pets or food production. However, if you're a city resident, you might be wondering if it's legal to keep a goat in your backyard in California. The answer to that question depends on the specific city or county where you reside within the state. In other words, each municipality in California has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to keeping farm animals in residential areas.

So, before you bring a pet goat into your California home, you must first contact your local animal authorities to make sure it's legal. Meanwhile, to give you an idea, here's a list of a few California municipalities that allow residents to own goats.

San Diego, CA

If you reside in the City of San Diego, CA, you may own a goat! According to the City's Official Website, residents of single-family homes are permitted to keep and care for two miniature goats. Why two, you ask? Well, miniature goats are social creatures and require companionship. Therefore, the City mandates that you have a pair of goats rather than just one.

Of course, there are a few more regulations to keep in mind. Only miniature, pygmy, or dwarf goats are allowed to be kept within city limits. Additionally, all goats must undergo the process of dehorning to ensure safety. Furthermore, male goats must be neutered.

Santa Clara, CA

The ownership of goats in Santa Clara, CA is permitted, subject to specific regulations. Your goat should not be kept within 100 feet of any dwelling, except for your own. Additionally, it should be kept at least 50 feet away from your own dwelling.

The premises where your goat is housed must be properly fenced. This enclosure serves to contain the goat and prevent it from straying beyond the designated area. Alternatively, if the goat is tethered, the stake or restraint should be effective in confining the animal to the premises.

Pomona, CA

In the city of Pomona, California, goats are considered domestic animals and are permitted as pets within city limits. However, according to the City Code, only female goats are allowed to be kept without any additional requirements. If you wish to keep a male goat, you'll need to obtain a permit from the city of Pomona. Additionally, it's strictly prohibited to slaughter goats for personal use within the city.

San Fernando, CA

In San Fernando, CA, it is permissible to own a goat as long as you can ensure that the animal remains at least 110 feet away from any nearby buildings. As per the City Code, you are not allowed to keep more than two goats in an open corral within the city unless you have obtained a permit from the health officer beforehand.

San Francisco, CA

In San Francisco, California, you do not need a permit to keep up to two female goats for your family's personal use. However, if you want to keep a male goat or have more than two goats, you must obtain a permit from the Department of Public Health. For further details, please refer to the San Francisco Health Code.

Redwood City, CA

In the city of Redwood City, CA, it is indeed permissible to own goats! However, a permit is required for this endeavor. To obtain the permit, one must apply to the Building Inspector and submit an annual fee. The fee amounts to $10 for each of the first two goats, and an additional $2.50 for every subsequent goat. Furthermore, you must to adhere to the City Code, which stipulates that a minimum lot area of one acre is necessary for keeping any goat.

San Jose, CA

If you reside in San Jose, CA, you have the opportunity to own a goat, as long as you can ensure that the animal is kept at a distance of more than 150 feet from any dwelling that is not your own, or within 35 feet of your own dwelling. Moreover, according to the City Municipal Code, it is mandatory for any corral, fenced area, or restraint for goats to be situated no closer than 60 feet to a dwelling or swimming pool on the neighboring property.

Long Beach, CA

If you reside in Long Beach, CA, you must acquire a permit from the Animal Care Services Bureau if you wish to own a goat. According to the Long Beach Municipal Code, goats are allowed to be kept solely as pets or for personal consumption. However, there is a limit of two live goats that you can keep on your residential property within the City. The good news is that if your goats have babies, you can keep them on your property for up to six months from the day they are born.

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