Judith Kay simply wanted to help the children she tutors. Most have self-esteem issues. Some are developmentally disabled. Some need socialization skills.
Kay holds dual master’s degrees in education –she’s a trained speech and hearing therapist working from her home on a cul de sac in the Knob Hill neighborhood.
A couple years ago she took equine-assisted learning classes and became certified as a teacher. Convinced horses could help her students, Kay adopted in September 2007 two miniatures – Peanut and Sprout - and began using tem with her students.
Here’s a look at all Kay and her four-legged therapists, Peanut and Sprout:
The results were immediate and significant.
And, clearly, Kay has fallen in love with them. She has converted her home into a mini-ranch for mini-horses.
These are not ponies. They are 19-year-old miniature horses that weigh in at about 250 pounds. That’s not much bigger than many Great Danes. And city code permits four Great Danes per home.
Things were fine until December 2008 when the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region received a complaint. Kay was cited for a misdemeanor violation of a city ordinance which prohibits hoofed animals.
Then city inspectors showed up and started finding violations: she didn’t have a permit for her home tutoring business and the lot was far too small for a variance to permit the horses. The horses had to go.
Here’s a look at her home from www.FlashEarth.com
She requested variances to the code to permit her horses but was denied by the Planning Commission. Knob Hill just isn’t horse country. Especially not on a 7,300-square-foot lot.
Actually, there are pockets of horse barns in Colorado Springs. There is a private horse barn on the west side on Limit Street and public stables in Palmer Park and near Garden of the Gods, among others. But they have more space and are historic uses.
And for decades, Dessie Taylor kept mules and other animals on her “Taylor’s Acre” home at Fillmore Street and Templeton Gap Road. But she moved away in January and Applesauce, her mule, went as well. Her property will lose its grandfather rights to have a hoofed animal if it remains vacant for 12 months.
Anyway, Kay wants to keep Peanut and Sprout and is appealing her case to the City Council on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, she’s looking for property she might be able to afford and trying to find a stable where she could house the horses and bring her students for therapy.
If she fails to convince the council to give her a variance for her horses, Kay goes to trial Sept. 10 in Municipal Court on the humane society complaint. If convicted, she faces a possible $500 fine and 90 days in jail.