Folks rally to keep sheep, donkey in historic Petersburg district

Posted at 8:33 PM, Apr 04, 2013

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- A Petersburg woman whose four miniature sheep were slaughtered by wild dogs off a quiet street in the city's historic district is back in the spotlight.

Dana Ballenger said after the deaths, she did not give up, but acquired four more sheep, along with a donkey to protect them. And no one with the city administration ever said anything to her about her new pets.

Then last year, She acquired three more sheep for her tiny herd, sitting on an acre beside her 1760s home.

While neighbors and school groups frequently visited the sheep and donkey, not everyone in the area was so pleased with the livestock.

After a complaint was filed by nearby neighbor, the city told Ballenger three of the sheep and the donkey would have to go.

She appealed the decision and once again was told the same thing.

Ballenger said 50 neighbors side with her and the big complaint. Additionally, she said that the city is basing this new opinion on what is not in the city code.

Ballenger and others said the city has nothing in its zoning ordinance that lists how many sheep a person can own or anything whatsoever about donkeys.

Additionally, Ballenger said she's being singled out by a new city administration, which is giving its own interpretation of city codes.

Two people who live down from where the sheep and donkey have their pasture, said they just don't believe the city is any place for livestock and would like to see them all gone.

However, Ballenger said she plans to take her fight to court.