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Cows Unwelcome Visitors to Neighborhood

December 22, 2005|By Leticia Cheng

Neighbors of a rural La Cañada property were surprised Monday to discover cows walking around their lawns.

"This morning there are cows running around our residences," Ann Braun, who lives in the Angeles Crest Estates west of the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club, said Monday.

Braun said she called animal control officers who arrived quickly and herded the animals to their owners' property on the northern edge of the city.

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Braun admitted she has been uneasy about the bovine neighbors since first learning they were living on the other side of her fence.

"I just wasn't excited about having cow poop just a few feet from my house," Braun said. "I just didn't think it was very smart. Here's proof of why it's not very smart," she said of Monday's four-legged trespassers.

According to Robert Stanley, director of community development in La Cañada, the owners of the acreage where the cows are kept, Lois and Bill Johnson, have five cows, a calf and three horses. Therefore, they are in violation of the municipal code that limits livestock owners to five farm animals. A request has been sent to the Johnsons to register the animals with the city and to reduce the number of animals they own. However, they may request an excess animal permit to go over the maximum number, Stanley said.

Because there is a sign on their gate that states that they are part of the 4H Club, the Johnsons also need to apply for an animal club permit, Stanley said.

Lastly, the city is requesting that they relocate their livestock because of health concerns since some of the animals are being penned in the nearby flood control basin, which belongs to Southern California Edison. The city has notified the utility about the situation.

The Johnsons declined to comment for this story.

Some neighbors have also complained that the Johnsons are blocking some parts of the public Cross Town Trail. In addition, Johnson's 40-acre property also borders the houses on Bay Tree Road and Evening Canyon Drive and is too close to residential property, they say.

"There's a public health and safety issue because of the dust and flies and smells from the animals," said Stanley.

Charles Thomas, Braun's neighbor and president of the neighborhood association, noted that several months ago, he saw one of the cows behind his own back wall. He is unsure if the animals were actually on his property at the time.

As a leader of the local association, Thomas has not done anything about the livestock, saying that any rules and regulations the organization has about farm animals, is probably similar to the city's laws.

He also believes that the issue can be resolved quickly and easily. "I think the guy just needs to have his animals corralled," he said. "We're just trying to live peacefully up here," he added. 20051222irv94dncPhoto by Charly Shelton(LA)HELLO -- Animal control officer Julie Storey confronts one of the cows that strayed from home Monday.

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