We are against the keeping of horses in our residential neighborhood.
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We believe the keeping of horses at 79 Manor Road in Ridgefield is not only inhumane to the animals, but also a major nuisance and a public health & safety concern for all members of this neighborhood. It is inappropriate to keep horses in a 1-acre zoned, in-town neighborhood such as ours. We, the residents, neighbors, and supporters of this petition are asking for a town ordinance to be passed that would make it illegal to keep these animals here and that would remove them from the property immediately.
The constant smell and dust produced by these animals and their manure is atrocious and has made it difficult for neighbors to use their yards, or open their windows. The pileup of manure, and the defecation by these animals in the street and in front of people's homes is both inconsiderate and intolerable. The way the horses have been kept in extreme weather without any shelter and left to stand in their own manure without proper exercise is inhumane. They have resorted to eating the wooden stockade fence that boarders their yard.
The horse owners and current tenants of this property have continuously put these horses and our neighborhood at risk by not properly caring for their animals or providing adequate containment measures for them. This has been evidenced by the horses breaking through their fence several times, and, on one occasion this past January, a horse leaving the property and running into our yard. This is clearly a major safety concern for all of us, especially those with small children.
As it stands now, the town of Ridgefield allows as many horses as the tenants like on a one acre lot, with absolutely no manure management regulation. These people have gone from keeping two horse, to three horses in less than four months. There is nothing stopping them from having five horses or more on this tiny space of usable land in their backyard.
The effects of these animals' waste runoff may also be contaminating protected water supply areas as far as the NY Public Watershed. According to Roman Mrozinski, executive director of the Southwest Connecticut Conservation District (http://conservect.org/Default.aspx?alias=conservect.org/southwest , which covers 43 communities including all of Fairfield County says, “Some are doing it (manure management) vastly wrong.”
"The wrong way is piling manure on the ground to decompose, even temporarily if it’s picked up by landscapers who may use it for compost. Worse yet is doing the same near water or with runoff angled towards water."* The owners of these horses simply leave all manure on the ground with no regard for the implications it has on the land, nearby water supply, or neighbors. Several houses along Lewis Drive and Golf Lane border a stream and pond which the manure runoff may be contaminating.
The home owners have allowed these horses to be kept on their property since September 2016 against the wishes of many neighbors. For all the above reasons and more, we are requesting an immediate town ordinance to stop this behavior and to remove all horses from the property.
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