Pony Okayed for Disabled Boy

Filed under: Opinions

A miniature pony outside a farm buildingSpastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy doesn't sound like much fun. As part of his therapy for the condition, three-year-old Sam Spiteri has a pony, Emily. Unfortunately, a neighbor complained about the smell and the Canadian town of Caledon told the Spiteri family they would have to get rid of the pony. Their one-acre property was zoned as rural residential land and livestock is not permitted.

The family asked for an exception so that they could keep the pony as a pet and continue Sam's therapy. Horseback riding exercises muscles that Sam needs to strengthen, but the nearest therapeutic riding center is nearly an hour away. Town officials have agreed to allow Emily to stay, so long as the family keeps the pony's pen clean. "While you have to enforce the rules," said Caledon councillor Annette Groves, "there are times when you have to use discretion and have to remember that you're a human being and have to have some compassion."

I certainly applaud the town's committee of adjustment for recognizing that situations do not always fit into generic categories and that sometimes exceptions need to be made. What I don't understand, however, is how the neighbor could find one miniature pony to be an olfactory nuisance when they live next door to a cattle farm.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.