love animals, hate sprawl

If you don’t already know this about me, I’m about to let you in on something: I’m a sucker for animals. There really isn’t an animal I don’t like. Even the ugliest, most bizarre creatures are fascinating to me. And the thought of actually communing with animals, on say my own piece of property, is — while a bit intimidating — very exciting.

Well there’s a community out in Nevada, outside of Reno, where people live on little patches of land (around 1 acre or more) with their animals. These aren’t farms and this isn’t really rural country. It’s where suburban sprawl meets the good ol’ days when it was commonplace to have livestock in the backyard. Even my dad grew up with chickens in the yard — in Hackensack, New Jersey.

So these people out in Golden Valley, NV, have horses, goats, chickens… and, yes, even donkeys. But now that the landscape is leaning toward suburbanization, their agricultural lifestyles may be threatened.

Sadly, one of these happy agrarian households was recently broken up. Seems the neighbor couldn’t take the braying of the donkey any longer. I can understand that. The guy couldn’t sleep because the donkey would bray in the middle of the night. But didn’t this guy realize he was moving next door to someone who had livestock in their yard? Wouldn’t you do a little research on the culture of a neighborhood before moving in?

The case went to court and despite a reasonable defense and much community support, the judge sided with the complainant. The community, outraged and fearful this case would set a precedent, sought that a stipulation be added to new home contracts in their town. Now, anyone new to the neighborhood will be forewarned. But who reads the fine print? And sadly, this may not protect the citizens from future litigation.

Check out the full story, plus interactive features, here.

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