Petersburg Woman Fights To Keep Animals

PETERSBURG, VA—A Petersburg woman is fighting to keep her sheep and donkey despite pressure to give them up.

Dana Ballenger has seven sheep and one donkey on her one acre property in Petersburg.

Ballenger says she's had the animals since 2009, but recently received a notification from the zoning administrator saying the animals violated code.

“There is no code, no law, no violation,” said Dana Ballenger of Petersburg. “It's the City making up rules as they go along.”

Ballenger says she went to the zoning administrator in 2009 and requested a written letter saying she had the right to have four sheep on her property, simply as a courtesy.

“If I had said I'm getting 12 sheep, he would have put 12 sheep on there; as he said, it was not a letter of permission, because no permission was needed to be granted,” said Ballenger.

8News spoke to Joseph Hatch, who served as the zoning administrator in 2009, and he confirmed Ballenger's story, saying she's not in violation.

According to city code ordinances for livestock, there is no law limiting the number of animals on one property.

A statement from the City Manager's Officer read in part “This process permits Ms. Ballenger to appeal the City's Board of Zoning Appeals adverse ruling against her to the Petersburg Circuit Court – not anyone else.”

City leaders would not comment on whether Ballenger is breaking any laws.

Ballenger claims one of her neighbors created a petition calling for the animals to be removed.

“My neighbor produced 200 signatures against my sheep from people who live all over the place, in other areas, two or three miles away,” said Ballenger.

8News spoke to the neighbor, who wouldn't confirm or deny making the original complaint and denied to comment.

Stay with 8News for updates.

Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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