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Mathews planners consider acreage rules for livestock

Mathews County Animal Control Officer Jean Roberts asked the planning commission Tuesday night to take under consideration a zoning amendment that would require minimum acreage for horses and livestock on private property.

Roberts said that she has seen an increase in cases in which people have moved into the county, put horses “on postage stamp-size yards,” and “run into dire straits” in the winter when vegetation dries up and there is inadequate grazing area available.

Most rural counties in the region have a basic ordinance requiring at least a minimum grazing area of one acre per horse, said Roberts, with increasing area required as more horses are added. While the state’s animal laws don’t require shelter for horses, she said, they do require adequate food and water.

“And they’ve got to have enough acreage,” she added.

Any regulation enacted wouldn’t apply to people already in the county, said Roberts, since they woul...

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