For 2 years, Barney the goat has lived in relative obscurity on Goat Hill. But celebrity comes once in a lifetime, and even Barney rates his 15 minutes in the spotlight.
According to his owners, Arthur and Angela Raj Kumar, Barney, or “BJ,” which is short for Barney Junior, has never had any problems. He’s a quiet miniature pygmy goat, who likes to sunbathe near the family swimming pool with Sorijini, the couple’s 20-year-old daughter.
“BJ doesn’t think he’s a goat. BJ thinks he’s a dog. We have two dogs, and he follows them into the Back Bay whenever they go play. Even off the leash, he sticks around,” she said.
Barney may think he’s a dog, but the city says that he’s a goat and that goats have no business within the city limits.
Animal control officers cited BJ’s owners in September and told them to get rid of him.
“Our kids are very attached to Barney. My 10-year-old daughter would be emotionally crushed if we had to get rid of him,” said Angela Raj Kumar, who has petitioned the City Council to keep Barney.
Barney stands only 3-feet tall and weighs 80 pounds. He’s neat, Kumar said, doesn’t smell and has made great friends with members of the family’s menagerie, which includes two Dobermans named Samson and Cora, several chickens and Sheba, the family cat.
Kumar said she has permits for the chickens and recently bought a $10 permit to keep Barney pending a hearing before the City Council.
She has submitted a petition to the city with 25 signatures from neighbors, who agree that Barney should be granted leniency.
“This goat was bottle-fed as a kid and house-trained by the previous owners before we got him,” she said. “He’s an exotic animal, and I consider him better than those pit bulls that go biting everybody. This is a safe animal.”