A Melbourne man has lost a court battle to keep his beloved pet sheep Baa on his suburban property.
Vu Ho argued in the Victorian Supreme Court that the City of Greater Dandenong had no power to fine him or order the removal of the sheep from the property.
But Justice Cameron Macaulay today ruled the council did have the power to make local laws concerning the keeping of animals.
Lawyers for the City of Dandenong asked that costs be awarded against Mr Ho.
But Justice Macaulay adjourned the matter to allow lawyers for Mr Ho time to read the judgment before they made submissions on costs.
Outside court Mr Ho said an appeal was likely. He said legal costs including his own and those of the council were already more than $150,000.
‘‘(Baa) is a member of my family and I have to help her until the end of all of my capacity,’’ he said.
The electrician was fined $220 in February last year and ordered to remove his pet of 11 years under a council law against keeping livestock on land under half a hectare.
Mr Ho's solicitor Don Gibson told the Victorian Supreme Court earlier this month the council's animal laws were unclear, contradictory and at odds with the municipality's planning scheme.
While the council says its law classifies sheep as livestock, the animal could in fact be classed as a pet under the planning scheme, Mr Gibson unsuccessfully argued.
Mr Ho said he would "do whatever I can to protect" Baa.
"My sheep has nowhere to go, because I’m poor. I’ve got no farm or whatever, just a house and my workshop," he said.