WRIGHTSVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - A new city ordinance in Wrightsville will have horse owners looking for greener pastures. City council members voted to put restrictions on property owners housing livestock, making this is no one-horse town.
Former mayor and concerned citizen Patricia Rogers-Ward said the city of Wrightsville is actually home to dozens of horses. Rogers-Ward is one of several who said they're concerned about the new ordinance.
"They have taken care of their horses in the community for years, and for this ordinance to be passed without anyone knowing about it is in violation of the posted guidelines," she said.
In May of this year, the city of Wrightsville amended an old ordinance banning livestock in the city limits, adding new stipulations and making it harder to own a horse.
Wrightsville Mayor McKinzie Riley said horse related incidents are a growing problem in the community.
"Complaints of horses breaking out in people's lawn and people's property. We've had a couple of accidents involving horses," said Riley.
"If you have an animal, you should have sufficient enough room to exercise itself. Some of these horses down here are tied in a one car garage, tied to a tree," Alderman Allan Loring said he agreed.
But Rogers-Ward claims the city went about enacting the ordinance the wrong way.
"They passed the law using an emergency clause, which allowed them to suspend the three reading rule and go on and pass it at the same meeting," Rogers-Ward explained.
The owners received violation notices giving them only 72 hours to respond or face a $500 fine.
"We're not against horses. We are a horse friendly place, but there's some stipulations that you must have down here to have a horse," said Alderman Loring, defending the change.
The ordinance states, no livestock can be within 200 feet of a home, and the owner must have at least two acres of land. Without those conditions, horses must go.
Rogers-Ward said she'll continue to fight how the ordinance was put into place.
"With the city not giving them an option of what to do, it will put undue stress on them to find someplace else to house their animals," she concluded.
Mayor Riley said those horse owners in violation need to start finding other options.