Schilcher said an official of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which manages thousands of acres of open space, voiced concern that her animals would eat endangered native plants along with the unwanted weeds and brush. Schilcher said she tried to convince him that those plants would have to be removed anyway if they're growing inside the 200-foot clearance zone.
Rorie Skei, the conservancy's chief deputy director, said her agency would consider using the goats if Schilcher submitted a formal proposal detailing such things as animal supervision and safety, as well as environmental issues.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which uses huge swaths of hillside property for power-line corridors and reservoirs, said goat grazing might be allowed. But Schilcher could end up paying for a land-use license. Those renting DWP land for such things as parking and nursery operations pay up to $22,500 an acre per year.
"It would be a special request. But we'd look at any request coming in," said Armando Parra, a DWP real estate associate.
The Los Angeles Fire Department sends professional brush-clearance crews -- and then seeks reimbursement from property owners -- to parcels that are not properly cleared.
"Goats are used elsewhere for brush clearance, but we haven't used them," said Fire Capt. Bob Mihlhauser. "There are some underlying problems: Would they damage hillsides and eat all the foliage, including endangered species? She needs to do environmental studies."
Toppel, head of the homeowners group, agreed that brush clearance is a major issue in Pacific Palisades. He said he felt "like an ogre" calling police and animal control officers about the goats parked on Enchanted Way.
"They are not noisy; they haven't bleated. They are very content. They are very harmless, very friendly. There's no abuse involved. They get a lot of petting and are perfectly happy. They seem very content with their status," said Toppel, a retired business consultant who co-chairs Pacific Palisades' community council and was citizen of the year in 1998.
Toppel, who discussed the goat dispute with other community council members last week, acknowledged that enactment of a special city ordinance may be difficult to achieve. Aides to L.A. City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who represents Pacific Palisades, said such a measure has not yet been introduced.
As for Schilcher, she hopes to overcome opposition as she searches for new accommodations for her goats.
She said she was shaken when she recently found a cigarette butt that apparently had been tossed into the trailer's straw bed.
On the advice of animal control officers, she has posted a sign on the trailer that explains the goats' purpose and assures that they are not being abused.
In the meantime, she is looking for a tiny buggy to borrow over the Labor Day holiday. Her neighborhood is holding a block party, and she hopes she'll be able to give children free goat rides.
Maybe, Schilcher hopes, that will help her stop butting heads with some of her neighbors.