East Texas city divided over potential livestock ban

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - In the blink of an eye, you can travel from an urban part of East Texas to a rural part. It's a nice combination of growing cities and the country life. But one East Texas city is looking to separate that combination, by creating a livestock ban. The potential ban is splitting residents right down the middle.

"Sometimes we have five and six horses here, you know, saddle up and just go with the kids," said Mike Barrow, Henderson's assistant city manager.

Sunny Brown loves his horses. And, for years he's raised them and his chickens right here on his land inside city limits.

"We ride up and down the street," said Brown. "We never had no problem with nobody. Nobody never said anything. They don't get out and run over no kids. The kids ride them."

But those horse rides may soon come to halt, if the City of Henderson get's it way.

"It's a little hard to keep up with four or six horses, you know, and so trying to get it back to what's reasonably allowed, that's really what we're trying to do," said Barrow.

"Our animal ordinances haven't changed so much and they needed to keep up with the times and that's something that I think that we fail a little bit behind on," said Paul Duncan, director of community development.

So, to keep up with the times council is considering passing a revised ordinance that would ban certain livestock, like horses, cows, pigs, and fowl species in residential areas inside city limits.

"If the size of the property is not adequate enough to house the livestock then certainly you're going to have health problems," said Duncan. "If you're a neighbor and your neighbor is taking advantage of openness in that ordinance we have to address that."

And, addressing it is what Henderson resident Patricia Anthony wants done.

"I hope they do it and I hope they do it quickly because having live stock tied up in the city limits [with] no shade, you know, [with] sun beaming on their back, they're hot," said Anthony. "And, the smell! When you drive by where they are, it's awful, and I think it should be banned."

If approved, the ordinance would allow for some exemptions. Livestock owners who have appropriate acreage and comply with the ordinance limitations will be exempt.

Residential estates, districts and flood plain districts inside the city limits would also be exempt from the ordinance. If the council approves the revised ordinance, it will have one more hearing and another vote before it is passed. That could take about two weeks.

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