by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Residents in one South Nashville neighborhood are rallying around one of their famous neighbors.
Zoey the goat has been a popular and unique part of the Woodbine neighborhood for the last year and a half. Her owner, Mark Bigbie, often takes her on long walks around the area.
People of all ages stop to take pictures with her, and admire her trademark bonnets and bandanas.
"She's become the mascot of Woodbine, in a way," said Jessica Rice, Bigbie's neighbor.
However, Thursday, a Metro Animal Control officer alerted Bigbie, that he must have a proper permit to keep Zoey at his home. He now has 10 days to apply for that permit, or find somewhere else for Zoey to live.
Animal control will follow up on the situation, and if neither option has been completed, Bigbie will receive a citation that will require him to appear in court.
"I'll do what I've got to do," said Bigbie. "She's not a farm animal. She's a pet. I've never had an animal that loves me like this."
Brian Todd, spokesman for the Metro Health Department, said Metro codes prohibit livestock within 1,000 feet of another residence or business unless the owner has a permit. Thursday, Animal Control only gave Bigbie a written warning, but Todd said they will follow up on the situation in 10 days.
Bigbie experiences frequent seizures, and got Zoey to help calm him down. He said she has made a big impact on his life, and losing her would be really tough.
"It won't just hurt me, or her, it will hurt the entire neighborhood," said Bigbie.
Bigbie's neighbors have responded by starting a petition online and discussing it on the neighborhood's Facebook page. Neighbors said there has been an outpouring of support.
"I know how much Zoey means to him," said Jessica Rice, Bigbie's neighbor. "It's nice to have everyone pitch in for something that may be silly and simple, but it means a lot to us."
"We've had people say they would put up yard signs, or donate money to cover any fees," said Beth Mathews, Bigbie's neighbor, who started the online petition. "We want to do whatever we can to help out the cause."
Bigbie and neighbors are hopeful the situation can be resolved.
"I just love her. She's like family to me," said Bigbie.