Scores of horses, other animals removed from 'unsafe' stable
County officials have ordered between 100 and 200 horses removed from an “unsafe” Athens animal stable days after a fire there killed livestock.
Inspectors had issued a restrictive order on the stable when the fire broke out June 17, and after conducting a further inspection of the property Wednesday, officials ordered that the horses, goats and a donkey be removed within 24 hours.
In a statement, the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control said the property in South Los Angeles “has been an ongoing source of violations for unsafe conditions of various county ordinances and state laws.... The property has several Building and Safety violations, due to illegal wiring and unsanitary and unsafe conditions.”
Animal control spokeswoman Evilian Avina said officials are at the property evaluating and assisting owners as they move their animals.
At the time the blaze broke out, Los Angeles County Fire Supervisor Michael Pittman told The Times that the cause of the fire was "suspicious in origin" and was being investigated by arson officials at the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Century Station. He said two horses and a goat were killed by the blaze.
Rick Velasquez, with the arson unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, told NBC4 that the fire could have been sparked by a hot barbecue from a Father's Day celebration near the stables. He also said the property was operating illegally without lights.
-- Matt Stevens
Photo: Rafael Romero feeds his horse Prieto in the alley near the scene of the stable fire. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times