Council committee OKs bill that would regulate horses

A South Philly woman called the city to complain that her neighbor has two horses that smell “really bad” and she asked what could be done.

The answer: “Nothing,” said Brian Abernathy, chief of staff to the Managing Director.

And that’s because unlike most major cities, Philadelphia has no regulations for horses on private property and “so these residents have had no ability to seek relief,” Abernathy said at a City Council Committee hearing today. The city hopes to change that. 

Under a bill, introduced by Councilman Bill Greenlee on behalf of the Nutter administration, anyone who keeps a horse for more than 30 days must get a license, which costs $100. Each horse must have at least a quarter of an acre of outdoor space, adequate food and water. Violators would be subject to a $300 fine. Council's Committee on Law and Government approved the bill.

Former City Councilman Jack Kelly found himself on the other side of Council today when he testified in support of the bill.

“I think this is a first step and I think it’s going to be a good one,” said Kelly, who was appointed by Nutter to the Animal Care and Control Team Board (ACCT).

The bill would not impact establishments that have a commercial stable license.