New Hampshire

Goats Spark Neighbor Dispute, Lawsuit in Hampton, NH

A New Hampshire woman has filed a lawsuit over her neighbor's goats, who routinely escape their pen, but others in the Hampton neighborhood say they want the animals to stay

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A group of goats is causing trouble in one neighborhood in Hampton, New Hampshire.

Police have gotten involved and one neighbor has filed a lawsuit.



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Jessica Lapa Beals, who lives on Esker Road, has had Megan the goat since the animal was a baby.

"My kids bottle fed them," Beals said about Megan and her sister.

She admits that she never expected Megan to get quite so big.

"She has taught everybody how to hop a fence," Beals said.

And those impressive jumping skills were all caught on camera by the Hampton homeowner who lives across the meadow.

Erica de Vries put up some trees on her property for privacy, but that, she says, was just a waste of money.

"This was all brand new last year," de Vries said while showing her landscaping. "You can't even replace this stuff, because if you do, it is just going to get eaten year after year."

After years of frustration, and dozens of calls to the police, de Vries filed a civil suit against Beals to keep the animals off her property.

"We are doing everything we possibly can, and yet it never ends," she said Wednesday.

Not everyone in her neighborhood agrees. Several neighbors leave buckets outside their fence to feed the goats and say they enjoy the animals' company.

"I love the goats," said Hope Verrier.

She and a handful of neighbors who spoke with NBC10 Boston say the backyard farm is one of their favorite things.

"I definitely do not want to see them leave," Verrier added.

The meadow on which the livestock are grazing is owned by a third party, but the animals are housed on Beals' property. De Vries calls it a violation.

"The town zoning ordinance doesn't allow livestock on small residential lots," she explained.

So she is calling on the town to take action.

"That's the mystery we need solved. Why don't they, I don't know," de Vries said.

But even before that happens, Beals says she will likely send Megan and her troublemaker friends to a nearby farm to end this feud as quickly as possible.

"I don't know what else to do but to eliminate the goats if that's the problem," Beals said. "I just don't know how to make everyone happy."

The two sides will head back to court at the beginning of May.

The town is still looking into whether there is a zoning violation on Beals' property.

NBC10 Boston reached out to Hampton town leaders for comment, but hadn't heard back as of Wednesday evening.

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