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March 15, 2010

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Neigh to the horse that Wu kept

EVERY day for the past three months, 57-year-old Wu Kunqi would lead his pet pony from his specially refitted bathroom and ride out in Baoshan District.

But his horse didn't find favor with his neighbors.

Wu is now seeking a new shelter for his pet after neighbors complained about the smell and potential safety problems.

He had transformed his bathroom into a stable to accommodate the pet, which he bought for about 10,000 yuan (US$1,464).

He had kept the horse in his apartment on the ground floor of a building in suburban Baoshan District for about three months and often rode on horseback through the neighborhood.

"Residents are worried that the horse might hurt children and pregnant women," said Xu Qiong, a neighborhood committee official. "They also complain about the smell, which may grow worse as it becomes hotter."

Wu used to work in the countryside and enjoyed horse riding.

He asked a friend to transport the brown horse from Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in a container to the city last December.

"I raise the horse to keep fit," Wu said in a TV interview. "The energy consumption of riding a horse for half an hour equals that of playing a basketball match."

Wu said the horse had a health certificate and he was willing to undertake any procedures required to make his hobby legal.

According to the Regulation of City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation, residents cannot raise any poultry and livestock such as chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits and edible pigeons.

Neighborhood committee officials believe horses belong on the banned list and had tried to convince Wu to move the horse somewhere else several times but without success.

There were no specific regulations banning keeping horses, one neighborhood official said.

Residents last week turned to media for help. After the media exposure, Wu moved his pet to a discarded hut in a green area near the community as makeshift accommodation over the weekend.

But Wu's son is planning to buy a cottage in a suburban area for his father and his horse, Xu said.


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