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Revisions Are Recommended in Horse Laws

April 07, 1993

Regulations governing horses in Los Angeles have become "confusing, unclear and hard to decipher," said Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson, who on Tuesday introduced a Horsekeeping Bill of Rights.

In a cover letter to the council, Bernson said the proposed measure would clarify and make uniform current regulations scattered throughout the Municipal Code that are in some cases contradictory.

The document is based largely on recommendations made by the Equine Task Force, created by Bernson in 1991 to examine the increasing problems facing urban equestrians.

"We're trying to preserve what could be a dying lifestyle," said Lewis Snow, chairman of the task force. Snow noted that horse ownership, once popular throughout the San Fernando Valley, has come into conflict with increasing urbanization in the Valley. He also said conflicting city regulations can make it hard to keep a horse.

For example, while the city Building Code dictates that any roofed structure larger than 64 square feet requires a permit, the Department of Animal Regulation says horse corrals must provide cover. This means horse owners must go through the cumbersome process of obtaining building permits for structures that are generally little more than a pipe fence with a piece of sheet metal across the top.

"This is just the kind of Catch-22 we're talking about," Snow said. "We want to make sure that everybody knows what the rules are, and that we're all playing by those rules."

After being reviewed--and possibly revised--by the Departments of City Planning, Building and Safety, and Animal Regulation, the Horsekeeping Bill of Rights will return to the council's Planning and Land Use Committee.

If approved, it would then go to the City Council for a vote.

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