A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

My Photo
Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Friday, December 17, 2004

Happy the Donkey

I have been trying to find time to get to the issue of Happy the Donkey. Poor Happy lives in Placer County, about 70 miles from here, where he and his owners were taken to small claims court last week because their neighbor claims that Happy's braying keeps him awake at night, causing him to lose money on the job the next day. He is asking to be awarded $2100. The owners have penned Happy in, while a lawyer sitting in that day, takes the matter under consideration. Donkeys make excellent livestock guards, and Happy's owners have suffered with him penned in, losing chickens to coyotes.

Why is this important to me? Well, first because I have five donkeys, who love to greet us with their voices, just like humans and many other animals. So far, my neighbors have seen this as one more sign that they live in a rural place, but what am I to do if an intolerant person moves into the neighborhood? A donkey can hear another donkey bray up to two miles away, and I'm not sure how well we humans can hear in comparison.

Secondly, it is important to me that those of us who live in rural places are able to maintain our cultural traditions and livelihoods in the face of an onslaught of urbanization throughout the West. Back in about 1990, while I was working as a paralegal in the Sierra County Counsel's office, we drafted a "Right to Farm" ordinance at the request of a local mining company executive, which passed into law. There were several such laws passed in rural counties throughout California, including neighboring Nevada County, and in other western states as well. Since then, the 2000 U.S. Census has identified some of those counties as "cappuchino" counties, where urbanization has changed attitudes about life and work, as well as created a demand for a different lifestyle, including coffee shops and high home prices. Situated in eastern Yuba county, almost at the boundary with Sierra county, does not necessarily give me the long-term protection I desire. I only have a four-acre parcel, although I am fortunate to have thirty empty and almost undevelopable acres behind me, and Forest Service land beyond that.

I would hate to see the neighbor prevail over Happy and his owners, as that would create a precedent that would certainly lead to more suits against people who want to co-exist with animals. Crystal Ward (www.asspenranch.com) has circulated a plea for help and I update my blog once a decision has been returned.

This is our baby burro, Asteroid, at birth on 18 May 2004. Mama April is in the background Posted by Hello


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful baby!

I saw you linked from the Red Scarf Project and just had to check out the site with the burros. I am so pleased to have stumbled across the blog of another donkey lover.

Here in rural Maryland, new home buyers (as in new buyers, not necessarily new homes) are required to sign a statement when they make a contract on a house that says that they are buying a house in the country and that they understand that living in the country includes the smells and sounds of living in the country.


8:05 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home