East Ridge Turns Down Amnesty For Oreo, Belle, Fat Boy; Goat's Owner May Move To Georgia

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Jeff Viar was headed home to tell his children they can't keep Oreo in East Ridge
Jeff Viar was headed home to tell his children they can't keep Oreo in East Ridge

The East Ridge City Council on Thursday night turned down amnesty for Oreo the pygmy goat. And for Belle and Fat Boy, the pot-bellied pigs.

City Attorney John Anderson had drawn an ordinance that would grant "amnesty" to the trio of "companion animals." The owners would have a 60-day period in which to pay a $50 fee to register their animals as exemptions to the city's livestock law. The special ordinance would only apply to the three animals and the owners would be barred from letting them breed and could not replace them when they died.

But no one on the council was willing to make the motion and it died.

Oreo's owner Jeff Viar, who brought his young daughter and son to the meeting and took them home before the decision, said afterward, "I'll have to go home and explain to my two kids that they can't keep their family pet."

He said earlier that his neighbors at the end of Springvale Road all wanted to see Oreo stay.

The lifelong East Ridge resident noted that he rents the house where Oreo has been a happy tenant for two years and he will likely move to Georgia.

Attorney Anderson said when he brought up the issue with Municipal Technical Assistance Service (MTAS) officials, "Their first question was, 'Is Oreo saved?'"

He said there has been a "cultural change" in acceptance of such animals as pgymy goats and pot-bellied pigs. He said, "Oreo weighs 35 pounds and my dog is 50 pounds."

The attorney said "plenty of cities," including Knoxville, allow such animals.

He said if Vietnam War deserters could be granted amnesty, then a goat could. Councilman Denny Manning said he took exception to that analogy. Councilman Jim Bethune, who served in Vietnam, said he didn't.

Mayor Brent Lambert said he had favored an earlier ordinance that would have allowed such animals in East Ridge. He said many "more urban cities than East Ridge" do so.

- Photo2 by Wes Schultz

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Freeman). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. “2015 World AIDS Day” By Council for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention V. Ordinances – Final Reading: PLANNING a. 2015-124 Belle Investment Company and BYD Cowart, GP (Lift Condition). ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Unveiling Of The EPB Holiday Windows

The time-honored Chattanooga tradition of EPB’s downtown holiday windows feature the themes of “Chattanooga Strong” and other beloved holiday stories. For the second year, STEM School Chattanooga students have assisted EPB’s “elves” to develop the themes and create the scenes that attract thousands of local and visiting families each holiday season. The Chattanooga Girls’ Choir ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)

Alcoa Ends Notre Dame's Season With 42-2 Setback

ALCOA -- It's hard to get past the cold hard facts. Notre Dame's Fighting Irish football team had another outstanding season, but it ended the same way as last year with a semifinal loss to the Alcoa Tornadoes. It wasn't as close as last year's 28-19 defeat as Alcoa gave up a safety in its first possession before scoring 42 straight points, winning for the 10th straight week ... (click for more)

Heights Point Guard Alexander Commits To Florida

Hamilton Heights point guard Shai Alexander, who scored 18 points in the Hawks’ win over Central Park on Tuesday, made a recruiting trip to the University of Florida on Wednesday and announced Friday that he has made a non-binding verbal to coach Mike White’s Gators. Alexander later Friday night scored 12 points and dished out five assists in helping the Hawks post a 66-51 ... (click for more)