Sandy the 20-pound Flemish Giant has been allowed to stay with 7-year old Kayden Lidsky. Attracting nation-wide attention, the battle between the Lidsky family and the town of North Haven, CT is now over, and the rabbit side won. The town will re-write its 42-year-old ordinance that prohibits rabbits from being kept on properties smaller than two acres.
The happy news, as well as the background of the story was reported in the New Haven Register by Ann DeMateo. Here are highlights:
In late July, Zoning Enforcement Officer Arthur Hausman wrote to Joshua Lidsky, saying that having a rabbit on less than 2 acres was against zoning regulations. The Lidskys feared that the town would take 7-year-old Kayden’s rabbit from her, and a relative called News8. However, the letter from Hausman never said the 20-pound Flemish giant named Sandy had to go, just that Lidsky could appeal the cease and desist order.
By the next morning, the story went viral, and people all over the country were bombarding North Haven Town Hall with calls and emails, saying that the town and its officials were nasty and insensitive.
Freda and his assistant, Valerie Goodkin, went into defense mode and responded to more than 1,000 calls and emails, responding that the town didn’t want to take the 3-year-old bunny away from the girl. Freda spoke on CNN Headline News twice, and he and Josh Lidsky separately appeared on various radio and television spots.
Linda Thibault of Hopalong Hollow, a rabbit rescue agency in Norwalk, intervened and found someone to donate the $210 fee necessary for the Lidskys to take their appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
But after reflection, Freda said that he decided the ZBA airing was unnecessary. He said he wants to return the donation to Hopalong.
“After I thought about this, the correct approach is to try to change the antiquated ordinance so there’s no need to go for a ZBA waiver,” Freda said.
To read the full story, please go to http://nhregister.com/articles/2012/08/16/news/metro/doc502d6d415acd7520488533.txt?viewmode=fullstory
The story of Sandy and the Lidskys is not the only incident about municipalities having to decide whether rabbits are livestock or pets. It is hoped that the way North Haven has settled their issue will be a model for other communities to follow.
Photo courtesy of The Original Turtle