Family Seeks Help in Reversing Shattered Livestock Dream

"Kabob" the sheep has become a mini-celebrity in Upper Moreland, Montgomery County. 

He travels around town in the back of the Lundeen family car, is the main attraction at an annual sheep shearing event, has his own Facebook page and is a fixture at local holiday gatherings.

Chris and Cindy Lundeen are hoping to keep Kabob and their family's dream from falling apart. In 2007, they bought a historic farmhouse they call Overlook Farms. It was built in 1730 and is older than the Liberty Bell.

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"One of the reasons we chose to buy a historic property was the idea that we would be able to bring the property back to its original function -- a farm," said Cindy Lundeen. "All of the animals are rescues and adopted."

Just four years ago, they started building their home life around livestock animals. In no time, the family acquired 4 sheep, two goats, 14 chickens, two guinea pigs, 13 cats and two dogs. They named each one of them. 

But, the Lundeens may lose Kabob and their livestock due to an Upper Moreland code violation they were recently made aware of.

"Kabob’s our pet. He’s our family. We would sooner move than give him up," said Chris Lundeen.

The Lundeens plan to go before the Upper Moreland zoning board with their supporters on October 23 to petition the 5-member board to approve variances so that they may able to keep their beloved farm pets and stay put. Because their land sits on one-acre, they are not in compliance with town zoning that requires two-acres for livestock.

"They are very nice people. We found out about it and had to act on it," said Paul Purtell, director of the Upper Moreland zoning officer.

"We’ve had people with chickens that wanted to keep chickens, and appeared before zoning. They received approval. This is my first sheep and goat."

The Lundeens started an online petition to bring awareness to their plight and hope the support they've received will help them make their case to the zoning board.

The Lundeen's vision a decade ago was to raise their daughter Katie on a farm with livestock.

Cindy Lundeen visited the municipal building not long after they purchased the property to inquire about livestock and was told at the time that only horses and cows needed to live on two-acres. So they put up a fence, built a barn and obtained the permits to do so. Over the last five years, they added the animals.

Overlook Farms has become a neighborhod staple and a watering hole for children to visit the animals, says Jackie Kelly, who's lived in the area for the last 22 years.

"It's the loveliest little farm. Anyone is welcome day or night to enjoy these animals. It’s so sad that someone is trying to take away something so beautiful in our area," said Kelly.

Editor's Note: Christopher Lundeen is an employee of Comcast, which is NBC10’s parent company. 

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