Monday, February 16, 2009

Update on "Peter Rabbit"

Peter Rabbit moved to pasture outside Hickman

For those of you unfamiliar with Peter Rabbits story, click on title above to get background information.

Friday, 06 February 2009 06:00

Kelly Anderson (left) and Jack Scott (right) try to coax Harley Scott's horse, Peter Rabbit, into a trailer that will transport him from Scott's property in Hickman to Anderson's farm just south of town Thursday. (Heidi Hoffman)

By ALGIS J. LAUKAITIS / Lincoln Journal Star
Thursday, Feb 05, 2009 - 06:45:08 pm CST
HICKMAN — Peter Rabbit did not go quietly.

The old brown horse, owned by Harley Scott, fought like a mule Thursday to stay in the pasture where he had spent his entire life.

Four people couldn’t move him after 40 minutes of trying to load him into a horse trailer.

They pulled. They locked hands and pushed ungraciously from behind. They lifted his legs, one at a time. Everyone, including Peter Rabbit, was exhausted and dripping with sweat.

“He’s not wanting to go. It’s his home,” said Steve Parker, a friend of the Scotts, who dropped by to see the last horse in Hickman leave town.

Despite the muddy pasture, veterinarian Kelly Anderson took a chance and drove his pickup and trailer to a small ridge near the barn.

A few minutes later, Peter Rabbit, with a little bit of coaxing, was safely inside and on his way to Anderson’s acreage south of town, where the 32-year-old horse will spend the rest of his days.

Peter Rabbit’s departure ended a two-and-a-half-year struggle by the Scotts to keep the horse in Hickman. During that time, Peter Rabbit had become a celebrity of sorts.

Hundreds of people sent e-mails — some from as far away as Thailand — urging the city to allow the horse to stay. Some sent checks to the Scotts. Others offered to pay for a lawyer and even to take Peter Rabbit and give him a good home.

City officials wanted the horse to go, saying Peter Rabbit violated an annexation ordinance that bans horses and large animals within the city limits. Harley Scott and his son, Jack, a former City Councilman, argued the horse should stay because he was in the pasture before the ordinance was passed and should be grandfathered in.

Both sides tried to come up with an agreement to allow Peter Rabbit to stay, but negotiations broke down. The city decided to enforce the ordinance and fine Harley Scott up to $100 per day for violating the ban. A court date was set for Monday.

“They just didn’t want to amend it. We thought from day one we would be grandfathered in because we didn’t change anything here,” Jack Scott said.

He said the family decided to move Peter Rabbit to avoid the uncertainty, expense and inconvenience of further litigation. He said city officials and the family negotiated an agreement that said they had until 5 p.m. Friday to move Peter Rabbit.

City Administrator Brett Baker said Mayor Jim Hrouda signed the agreement late Wednesday after Harley and Jack Scott signed it. He said the city agreed to drop its complaint if the Scotts removed Peter Rabbit by the deadline.

Harley Scott, 77, wasn’t around Thursday to see his horse moved. He was attending a wedding in Texas.

“It’s been a real roller coaster of emotions. I’m glad Harley is not here today,” said Jack’s wife, Cheryl. “I don’t think I could watch him load up his horse and send him off.”

On Thursday, Cheryl Scott painted a large sign that read: “Peter Rabbit We Will Miss You” and set it against Harley Scott’s barn.

Later, she received a call from the city office, saying she did not have a permit for the sign.


wheelin126 said...

What a bunch of jerks!! Then they go after the gal that painted up a sign saying they will miss the horse. I'm sure glad I don't live in that jerkland!! That city SUCKS!!

Lin said...

I just hope that when election time comes around, people will remember what their idiot mayor and council members did to this horse. They all deserve to be kicked to the curb and never be allowed to be in any kind of position like this again. The horse should have been grandfathered in. I wonder what the mayor and council were promised by someone if they could get rid of the horse. There has to be a reason, and most likely a monetary one, why they up and decided to do this after 20-some years. Shame on you, Hickman, Nebraska,no one will ever think of your town again without thinking of Peter Rabbit, the horse, and your cruelty and insensitivity to him. Hickman should have a sign put up just outside the city: Welcome to Hickman, Nebraska, the Town with no Heart or Soul! The majority of midwesterners aren't like you, thank God!