Vu Ho with Baa the sheep at their home in Springvale. Photo: Jason South
The tale of a Melbourne man's 13-year companionship with his $60 pet sheep has ended in Australia's highest court – with a $200,000 legal bill.
Vu Ho has been battling a Melbourne council for the right to keep Baa in his suburban backyard.
But Mr Ho's two-year legal quest, which he says has cost him about $200,000, looks doomed after the High Court refused him leave to appeal.
The decision follows on from a Victorian Court of Appeal ruling in June, which upheld an earlier Supreme Court order for Baa's removal from the Springvale home.
Mr Ho paid $60 for Baa, but has spent a fortune trying to keep him.
The Court of Appeal ordered him to pay the Greater Dandenong Council's legal costs, which he estimated to be $200,000.
Mr Ho has said he is unemployed with no money or property and will declare bankruptcy if he is forced to pay the costs.
The council ordered Baa from Mr Ho's property in 2011, under a local law prohibiting livestock on land under half a hectare.
City of Greater Dandenong acting chief executive Jody Bosman welcomed the High Court decision.
"Council will now consider the options available to it and will seek to work closely with Mr Ho for the best possible outcome," she said.
"These laws are essential for the protection of public amenity and the good governance of local communities.
"The decision by the High Court reinforces the validity of our local laws, and the previous decisions made by various courts in the judicial system."
Mr Ho had argued the council had no authority to take away Baa and represented himself in the Court of Appeal hearing.
But the High Court on Friday found no reason to doubt the Court of Appeal decision and said Mr Ho's appeal had no realistic chance of success.