TOWN OF JANESVILLE
A town of Janesville couple are looking for new homes for two of their horses after a decision in Rock County Court on Tuesday.
Porsche and Jonathan Kettelhut have 60 days to remove two of eight horses from their property, according to court documents. The couple must also pay a $500 fine.
The town of Janesville filed a lawsuit against the couple in December for violating town ordinances by having too many horses, according to court documents.
Town zoning allows for one large farm animal per acre of land at the Kettelhuts’ property at 2320 N. Dani Drive. Town ordinances define a large farm animal as “any horse, head of cattle, pony, sheep, goat or hog.”
The town requested that the court order the immediate removal of two horses and a $75,900 payment from the couple—$100 for each day since they began violating the ordinance on June 11, 2016, according to court documents.
Porsche said she was “thankful” the judge limited the fine to $500.
Porsche, who operates a nonprofit horse sanctuary called A Right to Life Animal and Equine Sanctuary, said she is searching for inexpensive or donated boarding for two horses.
The horses she cares for were abused or marked for slaughter, Porsche said.
She said removing the animals will be difficult because she has a strong bond with them.
Porsche does not believe the court decision will affect her sanctuary, which gives at-risk kids an opportunity to interact with the horses.
Prior to the lawsuit, the town denied the Kettelhuts a conditional-use permit that would have allowed them to keep more horses, citing neighborhood concerns about pollution and run-off, court documents state.
The couple then applied for a variance for the property. The town’s zoning board of appeals denied it because of “harm to the public interest due to more excrement and odor on the properties and a lack of unnecessary hardship,” according to documents.
In court documents, the Kettelhuts argued that the town:
- Filed its action without giving them a citation or notice of penalties.
- Improperly considered closed-door testimony and evidence in violation of town ordinance.
- Gave them inconsistent and contradictory statements during the variance appeal process.
- Filed the court action before the deadline to appeal a variance decision.
- Is selectively enforcing ordinances.
The town argued that the Kettelhuts’ claims are unsubstantiated and that a jury would have ruled in the town’s favor because indisputable facts show they violated the ordinance, according to court documents.