Neighbors Face Off Over Backyard Farm

LIVONIA (WWJ) – “Let me keep my goats.” That’s what a Livonia woman will ask city officials at a zoning hearing Tuesday night.

At a home on Brentwood Kathryn Trestain keeps dozens of chickens, roosters and several pet goats.

That has some neighbors, including Karen Sayler, crying foul.

yard farm Neighbors Face Off Over Backyard Farm

(WWJ Photo/Sandra McNeil)

“Her chickens get in my yard all the time and that’s been a concerned. I don’t want them over here. The goats have gotten in the yard in the summertime,” Sayler told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeill, adding that she sometimes can’t sleep through all the crowing.

“We’ve heard them at four in the morning. Sometimes at six, six thirty, seven. We’ve heard them throughout the day,” she said.

Sayler is concerned for the health of her family.

“My son and his girlfriend, they’re pregnant. She can’t be breathing in all this from the foul and everything over here. And, you know, it’s just not sanitary at all,” she said.

Meantime, Trestain said her father bought to property because it did allow for farm animals in the city legislation — including cow, horses and chickens.

Trestain said she’s getting rid of the noisy roosters, but she’s hoping the city will rule to add goats to that allowed list.

Trestain said most of her neighbors like them.

“We have neighbors here all the time. The kids come here after school from the junior high, the elementary and even the high school. Many of them had never seen farm animals,” Trestain said.

“(The goats) are family, they’re pets, they’re wonderful. They just have really great personalities. They all have names. They come by their name, they know their names,” she said. “A goat, unlike a dog, is not going to attack its prey. It’s not a predator. They don’t even have bottom teeth.”

Trestain said her idea to have livestock on her property is not that far out there.

“A lot of urban farms are popping up all over the country,” said Trestain. “People are saying, you know, enough. We don’t want genetically modified. We want organic. We don’t want pesticides, herbicides. We want our own.”

What do you think? Comment below.

More from Sandra McNeill
  • Updates headlines and News inside Detroit for Mar 01 2012 : Travel tips, hotels, restaurants, jobs and news | Travel 2 Detroit

    […] Selling Gold Teeth Taken From BodiesColorado man indicted on pawn violations, according to report.Neighbors Cry Foul Over Backyard FarmThe battle lines have been drawn in a Livonia neighborhood over a family’s chickens and […]

  • Sheri

    I would love to have a few hens in my yard. But due to zoning laws we are not allowed to have them. We are in a township, but the city of the same name, which is surrounded by the township, allows each household to have 3 hens if they want. Come on, really? It is a crowded small are and they allow hens. I want hens. I would also like goats. with the economy the way it is, we deserve to be able to support ourselves as we see fit.

  • Ramon Hernandez

    I live in Livonia also and see no problem with eggs layers, minus the rooster (they can be noisy) and dont have any problem with goats either and rabbits are a great source of protien. I say “let them have their farm animals”!

  • Joi de Vivre

    C’mon lMs. Sayler! You’re worried about disease from goats and chickens? How did the human race survive all this time? Those who grow up on farms are far healthier than those growing up in sterile environments. In today’s world, everyone should be growing some of their own food. It may be the only way to get safe food, and such a pleasure having those animals around. I do hope the zoning board finds for Ms. Trestain;

  • Sue Boyle

    I think Ms Sayler needs to do some reading to know whats she’s talking about before she goes making statements that make her look bad…. I raise goats for a living and also have chickens…. Miss Saylers son’s girlfriend has more to fear from a cats litter box than from her neighbors animals.. I agree on the Roosters which the report says Miss Trestain is getting rid of them so why is she crying foul…. Miss Saylers needs to be asking her neighbor Miss Trestain for some free range eggs which are way more better than the store bought kind…..

  • Sue Boyle

    Just to add another thing for Ms Sayler to think about she says the chickens get in her yard… chickens tear up the ground to get bugs one of which is ticks which is more armful then the goats and chickens put together like I said Ms Saylers needs to do some heavy reading….. I hope and pray they side with Ms Trestain and let her keep her animals

  • Mike Rudisill

    A few chickens (hens) for eggs, and a milking goat or two might be tolerable. Ms Trestain has had hundreds of chickens at times roaming the neighborhood and coming over the fence between the yards. Several of the chickens are roosters and making considerable noise from early morning until early evening. Most of the goats on her property (at least 8 at one point) are males and very noisy… certainly not providing milk or meat as she considers them pets. On numerous occasions I’ve witnessed those goats loose and running the neighborhood. While this may be cute…and an unusual sight in the city.. they are a hazard to traffic. I’ve personally seen these animals stopping traffic several times on Brentwood St as well as out on 7 mile where traffic normally rushes along at 40 to 45 MPH. In addition to the noise and potential hazards.. the back yard where these animals are kept is always in various states of unsightly disarray. Grass no longer grows.. the yard is filled with holes, mud, poorly constructed shelters, a large composting operation, fallen and cut down tree remains.. and at times temporary tents housing personal belongings. The property.. especially the leaning garage is badly in need of repairs and maintenance. I can certainly understand why Karen and several of the other neighbors have a problem with this poorly run urban “farm”. It can do nothing for the neighborhood but further bring down the already severely depressed property values!

  • Luke Dennison

    The city should take care not to come out with a blanket policy that unnecessarily restricts the rights of citizens merely because a particular homeowner may or may not keep her property in a state of repair. From Mr. Rudisill’s comment it would appear that the neighbors have a legitimate complaint, however there are a number of people in Livonia that manage to keep poultry and small numbers of farm animals in a responsible manner that no more affects their neighbors than a common dog. I have kept chickens for years and my cousins keep chickens and sheep, and neither of us have had any issues with our neighbors and enjoy the fresh eggs and meat. If a property is zoned rural/urban farm (RUF) it should remain so and the ability to keep animals should not be infringed upon, although certainly restrictions on roosters and on quantities of animals (which is already stipulated under RUF zoning) are a reasonable requirement.

  • Sally Holstein

    The Michigan Farm Bureau website ( ) is a good place to find out information regarding farming issues. There you can also find the names of individuals that can help with isses of animals in urban areas.

  • Ron

    Whoever wrote the article needs a proofwriter.

  • City Tables Issue, Wants Woman To Discuss Backyard Farm With Neighbors « CBS Detroit

    […] Kathryn Trestain appeared before the city’s zoning board Tuesday night to get permission to keep her six pet goats at her home on Brentwood Street, over the objection of her neighbors. […]

  • soomi

    I agree with Sue Boyle and Luke Dennison .In addition I would like to say its the way how you keep any animal not the animal who is dirty or clean. Goats are not very different from big grown up dogs. Also cats and dogs dont provide you with breakfast in morning as hens and goats can :)
    Wish you best Kathryn Trestain

blog comments powered by Disqus
Holiday Drinks: Jazz Up Your Eggnog!
Becoming A Storm Trooper For Charity

Watch & Listen