Borough Manager Don Edwards said on Thursday, "The goat has to go."

Edwards said that members of the codes enforcement office will require Houston to leave the Moose Lodge, Loyal Order of Moose 1273, property today and take his goat and German shepherd Lyn, along with his camper, and leave the Moose property.

"He's gone one way or the other," said Edwards. "Hopefully nicely."

Edwards said that livestock is not allowed by borough ordinance and that living in a camper creates a public health issue.

Houston said that he considers Liberty to be a pet and not livestock. He also said that he has the full permission of Moose Lodge members to live on the property.

He said that he will continue to work cleaning the Moose Lodge on Sunday and Monday mornings as a paid employee even if the borough requires that he leave.

He said that if required by borough officials he would visit several friends and "pack up the goat and dog and go."

"If forced to leave, we will leave peacefully," said Houston. "Few members figure this as squatting. I provide the coffee and act as a night watchman."

Moose Lodge Trustee Fran Robinson said that as an officer of the fraternal organization he had heard few complaints about Houston nor heard the matter discussed during any meetings.

"I can't see any harm to anybody or a problem for any of the neighbors," said Robinson. "This should be solved by the officers of the Lodge, being that it's private property. We've had more problems with the dog barking at night than the goat."

Houston said that he pays for the electrical hook-up connected to the Lodge that powers his refrigerator, satellite TV and DVD player.

"I've got my whole world in this mobile home, including my dog and goat," said Houston. "I can be out of here in 15 minutes."

Houston said that he has spent 60 percent of his time - since he first moved to the Township Line road property during August of 2003 - at the Moose Lodge site, 30 percent working from the trailer away from the site, and 10 percent of the time visiting friends.

He also said that he often leaves Phoenixville to work as a traveling salesman of fire equipment. He said that fire companies often allow him to spend a night or two on their property while he works away from home.

Houston said that he is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and has been a member of the Phoenixville Moose Lodge since 1986.

He said that he often advises veterans who are not enrolled in Veterans Administration programs that they are entitled to benefits and should enroll.

Liberty was purchased at the Kimberton Fair in July, and according to Houston is too small to be a show goat. He said that Liberty spends nights sleeping in the camper.

"Would people complain about a bunny, chicken in a cage or miniature horses in the borough?" asked Houston. "Can I request an exception from the borough? I'm not raising a flock of goats."

Houston said with a smile that Liberty does a poor job of trimming the grass "because I feed her plenty of Purina."

"She likes eating everything. She really likes eating cigarette butts."

Houston attracted attention from borough officials last year when he inadvertently forgot that 10-week-old Lyn was leashed to the rear bumper of his vehicle while he drove for half a mile in September of 2003.

Staff Writer Dennis J. Wright contributed to this article.

comments powered by Disqus