Why a Bavarian cheese maker could face jail over over his smelly goat

Why a Bavarian cheese maker could face jail over over his smelly goat
Too smelly? The billy goat Zoltan in its enclosure. Photo: DPA
How stinky is a billy goat allowed to be? It's been the subject of a debate between neighbours in a Bavarian village for years. Now a court has come to some decisions.

For almost three years there's been a row between neighbours over a 'stinky' billy goat named Zoltan in the Upper Franconian community of Kulmbach.

Now the regional court in Bayreuth has decided that the goat owners must ensure the neighbour's quality of life is not substantially impaired by the smell, or they face an administrative fine of up to €250,000 – or even a prison sentence.

What's the back story?

For years the owners in question have kept around three to six goats. According to reports, their dream is to own a herd

with about 40 female goats and one male.

“We wanted to expand the cheese dairy,” said the goat owners. So almost three years ago they converted a barn, which borders the neighboring property, into a goat shed.

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'Drying laundry no longer possible'

However, this resulted in the neighbour becoming annoyed because she cannot stand the smell of the billy goat.

“Drying laundry in this situation was no longer possible, you could not even sit in the garden in front of the house,” her lawyer reported.

However, the goat owners defended themselves. They said the goat smells for only a short period of time in summer in order to attract other goats.

They said the animal is in its own enclosure. “We walk twice a day with the goat on a rope through the herd,” said the goat owners. This takes no longer than 10 minutes and is acceptable, they think – especially since the neighbour keeps four goats in her garden herself.

Even the judge could not detect any stench or strong odour during a site visit. However, witnesses and an expert said evidence shows “there is indeed a borderline situation here”.

So that's why the court has ruled that if the billy goat should kick up a stink again, the owners will have to pay a fine or a prison sentence in the worst case scenario.

However, there are still some unanswered questions on if the goat would be allowed to stay if the smell becomes unbearable for the neighbour.

Vocabulary

Billy goat (der) Ziegenbock

Dispute – (der) Streit

Laundry – (die) Wäsche

Stench – (der) Gestank

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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