Confined Animal Regulations Ordinance

May 23, 2001

To:San Mateo County Planning Commission & Board of Supervisors
From: Oscar Braun, Captain California Watershed Posse
Subject: Confined Animal Regulations Ordinance
Purpose: Protect water quality, environmentally sensitive habitats, livestock ,  the agricultural interests  the state, and the publics health and safety.

The Save Our Bay Foundation in 1995 became San Mateo County's most active participant of the Water Quality Protection Program (WQPP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The WQPP  is a coalition of twenty-seven federal, state and local agencies, public groups, representatives of the agricultural, boating, equestrian communities, and businesses  working to develop and carry out a long-term, proactive water quality management plan for the Sanctuary's eleven watershed regions.  The program's goals are to address existing water quality concerns and to prevent the kinds of expensive water pollution crises that have occurred elsewhere in the county. California Watershed Posse monitors, identifies and fights to stop the destructive and polluting activities of private and public entities impacting the Peninsula watershed and San Francisco Bay.

 The Peninsula watershed produces, collects and stores high quality drinking water for 2.4 million Bay Area residents and is a heaven for a variety of habitats and supports the ``highest concentration" of rare, threatened and endangered species in the Bay Area. The Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act are Federal environmental regulatory statutes that are meant to protect and sustain our communities and sensitive and crucial natural resources.  A violation of these Acts disqualifies the violating County from being granted  Federal and State  permits or funding. 

San Mateo County has currently four commercial/industrial  operations that violate the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.. Commercial/industrial  operators are Shamrock Ranch, Wildlife Associates, Half Moon Bay Sealing & Paving and Johnston Ranch landfill. The County of San Mateo Planning Commission  has found, based on the advice of the Planning Administrator and the Committee for Green Foothills, that these four commercial/industrial operators activities in statutory delineated critical environmentally sensitive habitats qualify as a non-residential use accessory to agriculture and permitted by right in the Planned Agricultural District on either prime or non-prime soils.

In Spring  of 1997, the Shamrock Ranch stable owners were notified that tenant Wildlife Associates  must vacant Shamrock Ranch because they cannot house their ``exotic Detrimental species" on statutory delineated critical habitat areas containing endangered species. The Legislature finds and declares ``exotic Detrimental species ``  are listed because they pose a treat to native wildlife, the agricultural interest of the sate  and the publics health and safety. ".  The State ONLY requires a permit for wild Detrimental species and specifically states: ``Family Equidae is not prohibited and is exempt from permit requirements. No permits required for horses, cattle, yak, sheep, goat, swine, Llama, Alpaca, or hybrids of llama, alpaca and guanacos. 

SOB Posse Findings and Confined Animal Proposal:

  • The keeping of horses and other livestock does not pose a treat to the natural environment, the agricultural interests of the State or to the publics health and safety.
  • The keeping of horses and other livestock does not violate the Clean Water Act or Endangered Act  and does not disqualify this County from being granted state and federal permits or funding.
  • The keeping of horses and other livestock is a use accessory to agriculture and thus a permitted right of use in this State.  
  • The four cited San Mateo County violations of  the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act  will not be granted State or Federal permits or funding until the violations have been cured. 
  • The San Mateo County equestrian community has circulated the following SOB Posse authored petition and have gathered over 2500 signatures: SAVE OUR HORSES! Our horse community is under siege and rapidly  becoming a candidate for the ``endangered species" list.  Horse owners throughout the County of San Mateo are fighting a losing battle against the unfair burden of sky rocketing ``special" taxes, fees and zoning laws that are destroying the rich historical legacy that these magnificent animals have represented.  This State considers horses to be livestock and requires no fees or taxes on these farm animals herbivores…horses, cows, sheep, goat etc.  San Mateo County has a special ``non-livestock" definition for horses and assess extremely high fees and taxes. Our horse population is literally disappearing from rural San Mateo County. Sign this petition to save our horse heritage. Sign this petition to bring San Mateo County horse ordinance into conformance with the USDA and California definition of livestock.  Sign this petition to end special taxes and fees on horses. Sign this petition to protect the quality of life in San Mateo County! It's a rural legacy worth passing on to our children!
  • The California Watershed Posse's ``Save Our Horses" petition gathered over 2,600 signatures in support of bringing San Mateo County into conformance with the USDA and California definition of livestock.
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