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Ask Mr. Answer Person: A follow-up to the answer about cleaning up horses**t off Decorah park trails

Posted: Sat, Nov 3, 2012 8:02 PM
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After Mr. Answer Person's answer to the question, "Are horse riders required to clean up horses**t off Decorah Park Trails" (click here), Mr. Answer Person received this e-mail from Jes:

"Horse owners are required to clean up after their animal no different than a dog owner or any other animal on any public land or private land that does not belong to the owner of the animal.  Just because it is not extremely convenient for a horse owners to clean up their animal's mess on a public trail does not mean they aren't required to do so. 

I imagine if the question was "Do horse owners need to clean up when their animal messes on the Trout Run Trail?", you may have answered differently.  Truth is, the Decorah Park System trails get more use each day than many of the Decorah City sidewalks.  The trails that are designated 'Horse Trails' are also hiking, running and biking trails.  Responsible owners will clean up after their animal, no matter what that animal is or where that animal make a mess.  If horse owners do not clean up after their animal and use the trails just as responsibly as every other user group in Decorah, they risk fines and possibly being banned from the park trails all together.

Please post a correction as soon as possible."

Mr. Answer Person says: "It's true that 'responsible owners will clean up after their animal.'  It's also true that horse owners in Decorah are very responsible, for the most part.

But the reader questions was "Are horse riders required to clean up after their horses?  And Mr. Answer Person doesn't need to post a correction to that statement because it is true.  While the City of Decorah code specifies that dog and cat owners have to pick up waste from their animals, city code does NOT specifiy that horse owners must do the same.  In fact, in 2000, when the Decorah City Council updated the city ordinance about animal waste, a group of horse owners appeared and the meeting and successfully convinced the city council to exempt horse riders from the requirements of the animal waste ordinance.

At this point, from a legal standpoint, your statement that, "If horse owners do not clean up after their animal and use the trails just as responsibly as every other user group in Decorah, they risk fines and possibly being banned from the park trails all together" is not true.

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