Pepper the Goat Can Stay – For Now

Pepper the pygmy goat has been with her human family in Cottonwood Heights since Labor Day 2017, but that might come to an end.

Pepper Paisley lives with a member of the Mix 105.1 sales team, Jen Ford. For the most part, it has been great. Jen and her husband, Kevin, have made Pepper part of their family. She loves their dog, grandkids, and most importantly, she loves wearing Pajamas.

But things haven’t looked so great for Pepper lately.

In November, a neighbor who didn’t want her around lodged a noise complaint. Jen said that Pepper was in heat and, like most animals, was making more noise than usual. After some research, she discovered that goats will typically calm down after they’ve been fixed.

She took Pepper to the vet, had her spayed, and claims that Pepper has quieted down since the procedure. 

Animal control got involved anyway. After a few months and two official notices, the city met with Jen face-to-face, telling her that the goat was against city ordinances and had to go.


Jen and Kevin weren’t ready to give up on Pepper.

Since then, they have been petitioning the city council to make some changes to the ordinance. The process of amending a city ordinance is time consuming and has taken months of work and patience. Still though, there’s no guarantee that all that work and time will pay off.


“We have gone through every channel we can think of in order to keep her. I really hope the city will change the code because we love her.”



Earlier this month, Cottonwood Heights city manager, Mike Johnson, told KSL that the council was exploring what options they had to allow Pepper to stay with Jen and Kevin. They would research what other cities have done with goats in residential areas, then meet up to discuss their findings in a work session.

Finally, on Tuesday, April 24th, a goat ordinance draft was presented before the council.  

 I went along to babysit Pepper while her mom and dad fought for her inside city hall. Because of course I did. Look at that face. She’s the cutest. 

Good-ish News from the council

While I was outside running around and taking selfies with the goat, Jen and Kevin got some good-ish news. The ordinance amendment draft, which would allow goats in Cottonwood Heights, was well-received by city council members. But there are some drawbacks. 

One problem Jen and Kevin had with the draft is that it would force goat owners to have a companion goat. Under this code, if you kept a goat in Cottonwood Heights, you you would need to own two; no more, no less.

Other cities with residential goat rules have adopted this idea as well. Goats are social animals and keeping them alone can be damaging to their well being.

“Two goats probably isn’t possible. We’re hoping they will change the wording to ‘companion animal’ so we can count the dog as [Pepper’s] companion,” Kevin said after the meeting.

Other than that, chances look good for Pepper. In the office this morning, Jen said that they will need to build an outdoor shelter for her that is farther away from a neighboring house, but it wasn’t going to be a big deal. 

The city council decided to give all members the chance to look over the draft before calling for a final vote. We’re wishing the best for Pepper and her family.


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