Bill Steele runs the Dorchester Jail BnB and thought some goats in prison attire would be an added attraction.

But Steele recently got a letter telling him the goats have got to go.

“It basically said I had to get rid of the goats by July 20,” Steele said. “I was in violation of the zoning of my area. They are not permitted. There's no animals, including lions, allowed in Dorchester. I'm glad they specified that.”

The Southeast Regional Service Commission in Sackville, N.B., says keeping farm animals is an "agricultural activity” that is not permitted in the village centre zone.

Rhea, Princess, and Deputy Mayor may be dressed like previous occupants of the jail but they're not considered a household pet.

“They say traditional farm animals are not allowed as pets and stuff like that,” Steele said. “Well, let's make something clear; I'm not a traditional person. I don't live in a traditional house. I live in a jail.”

The service commission has given Steele three options:

  1. Apply to amend the zoning by-law;
  2. Remove the animals from the property and house them on land zoned for agricultural uses; or,
  3. Move them outside village limits.

He has until July 20 to make a decision.

Since Steele received the letter saying he couldn't keep the goats, he's had the community rally behind him. They started a Facebook page -- which already has 1,700 members -- just for the goats. They say they're going to do whatever it takes to keep them, even if that means a petition.

"Why a guy can’t have a couple of goats over the course of a summer to promote a business in a community that is starving for business, it's hard to understand,” said goat supporter Howard Carr.

As for the deadline?

“I guess they come back on the 20th and see that I still have my goats, and that place writes a letter to the village office and then the village will have to take legal action against me,” Steele said.

But Steele says he's not worried about the worst-case scenario and doesn't plan to break the goats out of jail anytime soon.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.