Thursday, June 13, 2013

TOP STORY >> Ward Council says one acre per horse

Leader staff writer

Whether miniature horses are the pets they were bred as in 17th Century Europe or livestock was answered in Ward on Monday night when the city council voted unanimously to uphold its ordinance requiring a minimum of one acre of pasture per horse.

The vote means that Patricia Tullos will have to find a new home for herself or Beau, her four-year-old miniature horse who is no bigger than a St. Bernard.

Alderman Charles Gasteneau led the discussion about allowing Tullos to keep her horse in her yard.

Gasteneau said he drove by Tullos’ home to see the conditions there. The horse was in good physical shape, he said. And there was plenty of shade for it, but he said he was concerned about the lack of natural grass for grazing. “I can’t recommend approval,” he said.

Alderman Lee Schoonover had a different reason for upholding the ordinance.

“The whole idea behind the ordinance was to keep farm animals out of the city limits,” Schoonover said, adding that if they allowed the little horse, pigs might be next.

Asked if she could find someone to board it, Tullos, who started to cry when she heard the vote, said she knew no one in the area because she had only lived in Ward since December.

On the recommendation of Mayor Art Brooke, the council gave her 30 days to find a solution.

On her way out the door, Tullos told the council, “I hope nobody ever asks anybody in here to get rid of one of their children. I can’t have children. Our animals are our children.”

The meeting was a short one but long enough for Tullos to return with her husband before the council members dispersed.

“What’s wrong with you people,” her irate husband asked. “None of you have a heart in your chest.”

The situation was defused by Police Chief Steve Benton who stood in front of the shaking man, blocking his view of the council members and telling him that he would accomplish nothing with his anger.

The mayor said after the meeting that small though he may be, Beau is still a horse and the council had worked two years on the ordinance before approving it.

In other business, the council voted unanimously to buy the old farm co-op building on Hwy. 367 so the city will have commercial land available for new businesses that might locate there.

The 1.58 acres and building appraised for $125,000, the mayor said, but First Arkansas Bank and Trust offered it to the city for $62,500.

The mayor said the bank offered to finance the property, but he preferred to pay cash. Alderman Jeff Shaver agreed, saying there would be other opportunities to show goodwill by financing projects.