Council Members, we are asking that you reconsider your decision to exclude animal activities from the Main Street Farmers Market, and allow Tawnis Ponies to continue providing pony rides and farm animal interaction to children in your community.
This petition had 2,711 supporters
From April through September 2014, the people of Santa Monica were misled by a half-dozen or so protestors who under the leadership of local political activist Marcy Winograd falsely accused Tawni Angel and her company, Tawnis Ponies and Petting Farm, of the crime of animal abuse. These protestors used signs like the one above and posted false information on the Internet intended to demonize Tawni and her husband, Jason Nester, falsely contending that they forced injured animals to work at the Santa Monica Main Street Farmers’ Market and that they gave their animals filthy water to drink or no water at all.
Documents obtained from the City of Santa Monica show that Winograd, the leader of the protestors, was told in writing on May 9th and May 23rd by Santa Monica city officials that the Santa Monica Police Department’s Animal Control Unit investigated Tawnis Ponies at the Farmers’ Market on May 4, 11 and 18 and found no evidence of the crime of animal abuse. Winograd was also told on July 13th by the former supervisor of the SMPD’s Animal Control Unit who investigated Tawnis Ponies that very day that Tawni’s ponies are well cared for and there was no evidence of abuse.
Despite these facts, the protests continued. On September 9, 2014, the Santa Monica City Council bowed to these protestors who dealt in false information, passing a proposal that will effectively end the pony ride and petting zoo at the Farmers’ Market next May. The proposal was introduced by two council members who claimed that this proposal was appropriate in light of the “controversy” surrounding the pony ride and petting zoo. A controversy based on lies.
Tawnis Ponies has been a fixture at the Farmers’ Market for 11 years. Each week, between 200 and 300 children line up for a chance to ride a pony. The hundreds of parents who have supported Tawnis Ponies week in and week out for more than a decade didn’t get a say in this decision despite bringing thousands of dollars into the Farmers’ Market each week. Instead, those few who manipulated information and images to smear a small business and its owners prevailed.
Sign this petition. Ask your friends to sign it. Let’s tell the Santa Monica City Council how we feel about being misled. It’s time for the Council to change its mind about the future of Tawnis Ponies before this small business dies when its contract with the City ends next May and Tawni has to find new homes for her 18 ponies and 80 or so other animals on her farm.
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