WILMORE — Just one Wilmore City Council member said "neigh" Monday night when the council took a step toward prohibiting horse owners and anyone else with large farm animals from keeping them in town.
Under the ordinance, which exempts poultry and goats, residents of Wilmore would not be able to keep horses, cattle, sheep, llamas, donkeys, mules or buffalo within the city limits unless they had two acres per animal. The animals also could not be kept within 200 feet of a neighboring residence, city park, church or school.
All pigpens would be prohibited, unless the property was zoned for agricultural use.
The ordinance states that keeping such livestock within city limits "is incompatible with modern urban living, based upon the danger and nuisance associated therewith."
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The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 3 to give the ordinance a second vote. If given final approval, livestock owners would have a year to comply with the new rule. After that, violators would be fined $25 a day.
Councilman Jim Brumfield, who cast the lone no vote, said he did so because he thought that "in our size town, neighbors probably should work out their differences themselves" without the council having to intervene in such disputes.
City officials said just two households within the city limits keep horses.
One is headed by Jamie Fox, who said he has three horses on his property, which sits within sight of City Hall.
He said in an interview that he put a privacy fence around the lot after neighbors complained.
"The sewer plant smells worse," he said. "They're picking on horses in my opinion. ... I think it's neat to have horses riding up and down Main Street."
Wilmore resident John Boh said after the council meeting that he didn't have horses at his house but supported the rights of others to have them.
"This is not what I would consider urban," he said. "Today it's horses, what's it going to be tomorrow?"
Councilman Lynn Cooper said during the meeting that he didn't initially support such an ordinance when the issue came up last fall, but he did now because of "concern for the health and welfare of the animals" and the rights of property owners who live near lots with livestock on them.
"If neighbors were always neighborly and considered the rights of others, we wouldn't have to have half the ordinances that we have," he said. "We're not the big, bad wolf trying to eliminate horses in the horse capital of the world."
Cooper listed several other cities in Central Kentucky that have such ordinances.