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Petting Zoo's Noise and Stench Raises Hackles

July 25, 1993

* Debe Hale (Letters, July 18) offers support of a privately owned, for-profit pony ride and petting zoo in Reseda whose owner is appealing yet another zoning ruling against it.

Hale supports the retention of the Valley's rural landscape, as do I. But the pony ride in question has been in operation in its present location since 1988--hardly a grand old tradition.

The pony ride moved into a location which was quite urban already, and the residents in the surrounding community had no idea that their property values and neighborhood appeal would plunge when an illegal, ill-kept, oft-cited menagerie moved in.

Hale is like many of the pony rides supporters. She lives far from it, in quite urban Sherman Oaks. Let her put the pony ride and petting zoo across from her home. How will she feel about the crowing roosters, cackling geese, bleating sheep and whinnying horses at 4 a.m.? Or how about the stench from hundreds of cramped farm animals on a hot Valley afternoon? No, I suspect Hale would object to such a development in her neighborhood.

The recent ruling of the zoning board and the rulings before it were quite accommodating: The zoo's owner may keep most of the animals and operate a farm, but not a pony-riding academy and a petting zoo. The decision was based on citations and past uncooperativeness of the zoo's owner.

I love furry farm animals and can pet them, as can Hale and her son, at the petting zoo inside the L. A. Zoo on any given day.



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