LOS ANGELES – Griffith Park Pony Rides has been a historic landmark in Southern California for many years. Yearly, nearly 160,000 kids go to the positioning, which started working in 1948.
Now proprietor Stephen Weeks is going through backlash from animal rights activists and the Los Angeles Animal Alliance (LAAA). Protesters have been protesting in opposition to the riders each week, claiming that the animals are being abused.
“Our aim is to have his contract terminated and to instantly take away all animals which can be older and must reside their lives comfortably,” stated LAAA founder Zohra Fahim.
The group additionally claims that the 50 horses are overworked in swelling scorching temperatures through the summer season months.
“We don’t push our ponies very exhausting, often it is only a fast stroll across the ring a few instances,” says Weeks, who calls the allegations false.
“Now we have two veterinarians on name 24 hours a day to maintain any veterinary wants they might have. Now we have a farrier out right here each week to maintain their toes. We take additional care of our ponies,” he stated.
The animals and property have undergone a number of main inspections by Los Angeles officers. In January, after receiving a number of calls reporting animal abuse within the pony rides, Metropolis Council members Nithya Raman and Paul Koretz filed a movement demanding a third-party evaluation of the ability.
“The division for recreation and parks and the division for animal companies have repeatedly gone out to examine the ability and haven’t discovered any violations,” it says within the movement.
The movement goes on to say: “In response to considerations from residents and animal rights teams, nonetheless, RAP has initiated a course of to rent a third-party equestrian knowledgeable to evaluation and report on enterprise insurance policies and practices to make sure horses are nicely cared for.”
Households who took their kids to the horse rides instructed FOX 11 that that they had combined emotions in regards to the allegations of abuse by protesters.
“I perceive what they’re saying. You possibly can learn an animal’s physique language. These animals don’t look as comfortable as those you see within the wild,” says father or mother Wynord Thomas.
One other father or mother stated she wished the protesters wouldn’t happen in entrance of youngsters.
“I perceive the place they arrive from, however I have no idea all of the info. Round kids, I don’t assume the protests are applicable. They’re simply kids, they have no idea,” stated father or mother Victoria Lopez.
The Metropolis of Los Angeles renewed its contract with Griffith Park Pony Rides, permitting the ability to function for at the least one other three years.