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Horse owners at Athens stables given till July 15 to relocate animals

July 2, 2012 |  1:16 pm

About 120 horses remained on a property in unincorporated Athens on Monday after Los Angeles County officials ordered the owner to fix unsafe conditions or evacuate the block of stables by July 15, a county representative said.

The Department of Public Works issued the tentative eviction notice after a June 17 fire at the stables killed three horses and a goat.

"There is a lot to be done to conform to our expectations," L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said of the property, known as "The Hill" among local cowboys.

"It’s the basic issue of public safety. Horse owners, children and animals cannot be in unsafe conditions."

Yellow signs, still posted on the dilapidated stalls Sunday, read: "Structures are unpermitted, structurally unsound and pose a fire and electrical hazard."

About 70 code violations have been documented over the years, Ridley-Thomas said.

Sheriff's deputies, county animal control officers and firefighters will be on-site daily to monitor progress and help owners find alternative housing for the horses, he said.

Famous Manor, 42, of Inglewood said that "The Hill" has been home to his horses, Smoke and Pepper, for more than five years.

"It'd be a real tragedy if they closed this place," he said. "Most of us can’t afford to keep our horses anywhere else. Most of us don’t have a lot of money."

After last month's fire, county officials initially yellow-tagged the property, giving horse owners until June 27 to evacuate. When only about 10 horses were moved, officials red-tagged the stables, giving owners an additional 24 hours. After little progress was made, firefighters and animal control officers reinspected the premises and determined most of the horses, away from the fire-damaged row of stables off 132nd Street in South L.A., were well-kept and healthy.

Owners have started moving horses off of the property to comply with the new deadline, Ridley-Thomas said.

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-- Danielle Paquette

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