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

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.

Why a Bavarian cheese maker could face jail over over his smelly goat
Too smelly? The billy goat Zoltan in its enclosure. Photo: DPA

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.

'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.


Billy goat (der) Ziegenbock

Dispute – (der) Streit

Laundry – (die) Wäsche

Stench – (der) Gestank

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Bar closures and no Christmas markets: How Bavaria is tightening Covid rules

Bavaria will order the closure of all bars and clubs as part of sweeping new restrictions to try and control the Covid spread and ease overrun hospitals. Here's a look at what's planned.

Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich.
Closed Christmas market stalls in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

On Friday Bavarian state leader Markus Söder announced more tough restrictions to deal with spiralling Covid infections and packed intensive care units.

“The corona drama continues,” said Söder after the cabinet meeting, adding that 90 percent of Covid patients in state hospitals are unvaccinated. “Being unvaccinated is a real risk.”

Bavaria has a vaccination rate of 65.9 percent – lower than the nationwide rate of almost 68 percent.

READ ALSO: Bavaria cancels all Christmas markets in Covid surge

Söder said the state’s Covid package was about “blocking, braking and boosting”, adding that vaccination centres will be ramped up. 

“We must act,” he said. “Bavaria is exhausting almost all legal means until December 15th.”

Earlier this week, Bavaria introduced a state-wide 2G rule, meaning only vaccinated people (geimpft) and people who’ve recovered from Covid (genesen) can enter many public spaces. People who are eligible to get vaccinated but choose not to get it are excluded. 

Here’s an overview of the planned restrictions set to come in on Wednesday, as reported by local broadcaster BR24. 

Bars, clubs and restaurant curfew

From Wednesday, and for three weeks, all nightlife like clubs, discos, bars, pubs and brothels in Bavaria are set to close their doors. Restaurants will have to shut at 10pm. So planned Christmas nights out will likely need to be cancelled or postponed. 

Christmas markets

There will be no Christmas or Christkindl markets in Bavaria this year. In the past days, several cities had announced that they would not be holding these events this year due to the Covid situation. 

Contact restrictions on the unvaccinated

Söder announced new restrictions on the number of people those who are not inoculated can socialise with. A maximum of five unvaccinated people will be allowed to meet, from two different households. Children under 12 will not be included in the total, as well as vaccinated or people who’ve recovered from Covid.

Cultural and sporting events

All cultural and sporting events can only take place with significantly reduced spectators. At theatres, opera performances, sporting events, in leisure centres and at trade fairs, there will be a 25-percent capacity limit. The 2G plus rule also applies. This means that only vaccinated and recovered people are allowed to enter (not the unvaccinated) – and only with a negative rapid test. Masks are compulsory everywhere.

Universities, driving schools, close-body services: 2G plus

All universities, driving schools, adult education centres and music schools will only be open to those who have been vaccinated and have recovered – making it 2G. This rule also applies to body-related services, like hairdressers and beauty salons. Only medical, therapeutic and nursing services are exempt from the 2G rule. So unvaccinated people can still go to the doctor or receive a medical procedure. 

KEY POINTS: Germany finalises new Covid restrictions for winter


Shops remain exempt from 2G rules, meaning unvaccinated people can visit them. However, there is to be limits on capacity. This means that fewer customers are allowed into a shop at the same time.

Special rules for hotspots

Currently, the incidence in eight Bavarian districts is above 1,000 infections per 100,000 people in seven days. Here and in all other regions where the incidence goes above this number, public life is to be shut down as far as possible.

This means that restaurants, hotels and all sports and cultural venues will have to close. Hairdressers and other body-related service providers will also not be allowed to open for three weeks, and events will also have to be cancelled. Universities will only be allowed to offer digital teaching. Shops will remain open, but there must be 20 square metres of space per customer. This means that only half as many customers as in other regions are allowed in a shop.

If the incidence falls below 1,000 for at least five days, the rules are lifted.

Schools and daycare

Throughout Bavaria, schools and daycare centres are to remain open. However, there will be regular Covid testing. Children and young people have to continue to wear a face mask during lessons, including school sports, unless they are exercising outside. 

Bavaria is expected to approve the measures on Tuesday and they will be in force until at least December 15th. We’ll keep you updated if there are any changes.