A Sangamon County judge ruled that two people who had more than 50 animals on their property must get rid of most of them.
A Sangamon County judge has decided that two residents of Frey subdivision who kept chickens, ducks, geese and other animals in their back yard can keep their goats, but the poultry must go.
A group of 18 other residents sued Sheri McLean and Stan Westphal last year because they said the animals, of which there are more than 50, reduce the neighbors’ property values and violate the subdivision’s covenants.
The two-street subdivision is north of Old Jacksonville Road and west of Bradfordton Road. McLean owns the house, and Westphal lives there, according to the lawsuit.
Circuit Judge Leo Zappa ordered March 13 that McLean and Westphal must get rid of all the poultry — geese, ducks, turkeys, pheasants, guinea fowl, chickens and turkens on the property.
“The basset hound, rabbits properly contained and arguably the pigmy goat due to its size … would fit within the guidelines of the restrictive covenants as household pets,” Zappa wrote in his order.
Subdivision covenants say “no animal, livestock, or poultry of any kind shall be raised, kept or bred on any lot, except that a pony, dogs, cats or household pets may be permitted provided they are not kept, bred or maintained for any commercial purposes.”
McLean and Westphal said all of their animals qualify as pets because they do not use any of them for a commercial purpose.
“The key is not the type or breed or number or size of the animals but whether they are kept for commercial purposes,” wrote attorney Gordon Gates in a filing on behalf of McLean and Westphal. The pair do “not raise these animals for their meat or eggs. Defendant keeps these animals as pets. They are kept as a hobby for defendant’s personal pleasure and that of his children. He makes no profit from these animals.”
On April 16, the judge declined a motion by McLean and Westphal to reconsider his order. It is unknown whether they will appeal. Their attorney did not return phone calls seeking comment.
If there is no appeal, Westphal and McLean have 30 days to comply with the order, according to Dwight O’Keefe III, the plaintiffs’ attorney.
“I hope they won’t appeal and that the birds will be gone and harmony can be restored to the Frey subdivision,” O’Keefe said.
He also noted that the number of animals continues to grow. McLean and Westphal now have three goats.
Chris Wetterich can be reached at (217) 788-1523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Types of animals involved
Purple East Indian Call Duck
White English Call Duck
Transylvania Naked Neck (a turken is a kind of chicken that does not have feathers on its neck; despite the name, it is not a cross between a turkey and a chicken.)
Cornish White Laced Red
White Crested Black Polish
Crested Silver Polish
Brown Silky Bantam
Rhode Island Red
Silver Spangled Hamburg
Golden Penciled Hamburg
— Source: Stan Westphal affidavit