Members of a Salisbury family aren't ready to accept the village's refusal to let them keep their horses, Misty and Reiner, on their five-acre property.

Village councillors voted Tuesday against rezoning the land to agriculture from residential. 

"I'm quite disappointed and even a bit mad," Geri Dangremond said. 

But she wasn't completely surprised by the decision.

"It was more guessing than knowing, but of course you always hope that it's going to go well," Dangremond said.

Her daughter, Valerie, owns the two horses.

When the Dangremonds moved to Canada, they bought the Salisbury land not realizing their plans to keep horses would violate zoning rules in the village, which has a population of about 2,300.

They were told their home, barn and all, was not suitable for the animals, although it was once a farm and used to be in a rural zone.

The family fought to keep the horses, but council's decision at its October meeting is another setback.

"We are not just giving up," Jeri Dangremond said. "We haven't been treated fair in our opinion."  

One horse ill

For now, the horses are still on the property because one of them, Reiner, is sick. 

"We have to keep a close eye on him," said Dangremond. 

Valerie

Valerie Dangremond says her horses, Misty and Reiner have helped her adjust to Canada after moving from the Netherlands. (Joseph Tunney/CBC)

She said the reason the family was given for council's rejection was a fear the horses would contaminate well water. 

"That's what they are afraid of, although we looked into that, and it doesn't make sense," she said.

Dangremond said the family was also told council has a vision of low-density housing in the future. 

"I don't know how they envision that on our property because it's our property. Neither our neighbours or we want to sell our land and have it subdivided." 

Confusing zoning

Dangremond said there is a working cattle farm not far from her property on the outskirts of Salisbury.

Dangremond Horses

Geri Dangremond says they are not giving up their fight to keep the horses on the property. (CBC)

And across the road is a one-acre property designated rural, which means it can be used for agriculture. 

"So they're allowed to have horses, cattle or any agricultural activity on their one-acre property," she said.

Dangremond said the family has had lots of support from neighbours and friends, who petitioned to allow the horses to stay. 

"We had about 860 signatures from villagers only, which we presented to council a while ago, but apparently they didn't do anything with that." 

If the village didn't want the rezoning, it had the option of a variance or a non-conforming use, but it chose not to take that path. 

A bylaw officer from Quispamsis even offered to explain how things are done in that town, where some people keep horses on their properties. 

With files from Shift New Brunswick