In an effort to see that horses and other barn animals in the Athens area never again are warehoused in makeshift stables with dangerous electrical conditions, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors established strict guidelines for commercial horse stables in the West Rancho Dominguez.
On June 18, 2012, a fire broke out in a horse stable in the unincorporated community of West Ranch Dominguez, killing three horses and a goat. This facility previously had been cited for numerous fires, building and safety violations, animal cruelty cases, and was the focus of criminal investigations. More than 60 horses were kept in small quarters, many of them near starvation.
The board recently adopted a plan that outlines requirements for future stables built in the community. The new standards set minimum sizes for feed and water storage, manure management, exercise and recreation areas such as riding rings and riding arenas and require stalls to be large enough to safely accommodate horses. In addition, stalls now will have to be constructed with fire resistant materials.
“Those dangerous conditions that resulted in the deaths of animals and unsafe conditions for their owners will not be tolerated,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who initiated the move to establish guidelines. “The county is committed to developing new standards that will keep the animals safe and yet, preserve the tradition of horseback riding in this community.”
However, in order to find a way to accommodate the long-standing tradition of urban horseback riding, the supervisor also has funded a study to look at opportunities to build suitable horse stables within the area. A review of potential sites with enough open space to accommodate horse stables is currently underway.