Editor’s Note: According to officials with the Gardner Police Department, the permit was revoked as of May 17. The miniature horse’s owners have a reasonable amount of time to find Blazer, the horse, a new home. In the meantime, the planning commission will consider issuing a variance to allow the family to keep Blazer. The Gardner News will introduce readers to Blazer and his family in a story for the May 20 edition.
Danedri Thompson
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Jackie Gonzales told city council members the smell keeps her from opening the windows at her home on Valerie Street.
“It smells like a stable,” the Gardner resident said during the public comments segment of the May 16 council meeting.
Gonzales said she’d heard a pony was moving into her Parma neighborhood last January. At the time, she figured maybe the horse was staying in town during the winter.
“Come to find out, the pony is a family member,” she said.
She later learned that the neighboring family received a permit from the city, and she said she watched as a stable began taking shape beneath the neighbor’s deck.
“Can I have a pig or chickens in my yard? The cost of groceries is going up,” she told council members she was joking, as she expressed her surprise that a pony was allowed within city limits. “I grew up in Chicago and if we wanted to see farm animals, we went to the zoo.”
But that wasn’t what led her to address the city council.
“If it doesn’t smell, I don’t care,” she said.
However, when the weather was warm last week, she opened her windows only to find an offensive odor wafting into her home on the wind.
Another resident, Keith Roach, also addressed the council. He said rain water runs through the neighborhood.
“There’s a good little river that goes all the way down the street,” he said. “That’s another concern, (the pony’s waste) is contaminating yards as the river moves.”
Mayor Dave Drovetta said the pony was allowed due to a conflict within the city codes that was set to be addressed during a planning commission meeting in late June.
Gonzales wondered how long she would have to be patient before the issue was discussed.
“If there’s already a smell, it’s not even June. We can’t open up our windows,” she said.
Police Captain Jim Moore said Gonzales’ neighbors received a special permit from the police department for their mini-pony that required certain stipulations be met. If the family hasn’t complied with the parameters in the permit — like controlling the smell – the police department can have the animal removed from city limits.
Moore said he hadn’t had a chance to review the permit thoroughly before the meeting.
Gonzales worried that if officers visited the home when the weather was unseasonably cool, they might not notice the offensive odor.
“It’s still early. If it’s not warm, it’s not going to smell,” she said.