Richmond officials threaten to close stable with 110 horses

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Richmond is standing tough on its threat to close stables with 110 horses in them.

The deadline is the first week of December, but the city is hoping to see progress now.

It's a working man's stable, not fancy, but affordable for horse aficionados like Elias Mercado who just retired after 33 years as a baker at Safeway. "This is part of my life, to kill my stress and try to survive," Mercado said.

He boards two horses at two stables on the edge of Richmond. Or did, until now anyway.

Last month, city inspectors found code violations and threatened to close these facilities on December 3.

Terry Johnson runs one of the stables. "They were here two years ago, enforcement, city, county, and passed with flying colors," he said.

Now, owners of 110 horses may need to find them new homes.

This is no easy task for other owners including Brian Gaither. "I have no idea where to take them, you know," he said.

It's a tough stance by the city of Richmond. Mayor says Tom Butt says he is tired of fielding complaints. "From what I can tell they have no business license, no permit," he said.

Among top complaints, horse manure piled high in violation of code flowing into a nearby creek. "Everything is up to code. I need to pull some weeds and that is it," Johnson said.

Contra Costa Animal Control says that if it has to close this place down, it has already found homes for half the horses. They're hoping it does not happen at all.

"In any code enforcement action our goal is to get the violation cleaned up," Butt said.
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