Family Fights to Keep Farm Animals in Williamstown Township

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For the Hudson family of Williamstown Township, their house was a dream come true.

With five kids who have specific food allergies, Jessica Hudson and her family wanted a place where they could raise small farm animals.

"I called the township ahead of time to make sure that our animals would be okay and we could have the homestead that we wanted," said Hudson. "We were told that was fine."

They moved into the home in August, but three months, and several goats, pigs and chickens later, the family received a letter from the township.

"We were in violation of their zoning ordinances and we had to get rid of our animals," said Hudson.

A big surprise and a big problem for the family because without the animals, the Hudsons' kids would be missing out on a lot of nutrition.

"They can't have cow's milk, so we're raising our own goats," said Hudson. "They can't have soy-fed chicken eggs. They have like 14 allergies."

Hudson has been battling the township since the November letter, telling the township board, on Tuesday, her family is protected by the 'Right to Farm' Act because they intend to sell items from their farm.

Supervisor Mickey Martin says she sympathizes with the Hudsons' situation, but also says that protection does not count with zoning violations.

"Every zone has their permitted uses and in the 'R-1' zone, farm animals are not a permitted use," said Martin.

As for the initial 'okay' for the animals over the phone...

"I've talked to all the staff and officials. No one recalls speaking to her regarding that," said Martin. "She also can't say who she spoke to."

Still, Hudson says she intends to keep fighting.

"We've contacted the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund," said Hudson. "I want to win it."

Williamstown Township decided during their Tuesday board meeting to contact its attorneys to get the actual wording of the 'Right to Farm' Act before it moves forward.

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