City council votes to evict aging horse

HICKMAN, Neb. The owner of a 32-year-old horse named Peter Rabbit wasn't able Tuesday to buck a local ban on livestock within city limits.

After widespread publicity of the ban that threatened to kick Peter Rabbit off the pasture where he was born, the Hickman City Council considered an ordinance Tuesday night that would allow horses inside city limits. But council members ultimately voted 4-2 against adopting it, leaving the ban intact.

Councilwoman Kim Hoesing has long supported allowing horses. After Tuesday's vote, she said she hoped the issue would die down because "I can't get anyone to agree with me."

For a bedroom community where people live to get away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Lincoln, Hickman and its population of 1,085 have had a lot of racket lately. After publicity of Peter Rabbit's fight with City Hall, people around the country did some of the lobbying the horse couldn't.

Hickman City Administrator Bret Baker hasn't been amused by all the publicity. Given some of the phone calls he's received, it's tough to blame him.

He said staff had to turn off the voicemail because of all the phone calls, and the flood of e-mails "actually bombed our e-mail server three times."

The horse's owner, 76-year-old Harley Scott, said he has raised Peter Rabbit since the brown Morgan-quarter horse crossbreed was born in his pasture in the spring of 1976. Scott said there have been horses on the land since his father bought 40 acres in 1935.

Only about 4 acres remain in the family. The rest has been sold to developers. His land was annexed in 2006, but Scott said no one said anything to him at the time about having to give up the horse.

Scott has said he has no intention of complying with the Sept. 15 deadline. He faces the prospect of being fined up to $100 a day if he's convicted of violating the ordinance.

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