Hearing postponed for woman whose permit to keep horses was revoked

The appeal hearing for a Wichita woman who lost a permit to keep horses on her property was continued Tuesday until Feb. 4.

The Wichita City Council approved the delay after Clara Walker came to Tuesday’s council meeting with attorney Ron Sickmann, who was hired late Monday.

“Until yesterday, I knew nothing about this,” Sickmann said after the meeting. “You probably know more about this than I do right now.”

Walker, 84, 4824 N. Salina, had her permit revoked by Wichita police on Dec. 5, after detectives and a veterinarian determined that a horse on her property was in “dire physical condition,” according to city documents.

She is accused of violating a city code prohibiting inhumane treatment of animals and was also cited for allowing animals to run at large and bite or attack. The appeal hearing is a quasi-judicial proceeding before the council. If Walker doesn’t prevail, her next step would be an appeal in Sedgwick County District Court.

Walker contends that she is not in violation of the code. She said her grandson, who lives with her, acquired the horse in poor condition from neighbors and quickly determined that the horse could not be saved. She said the family made arrangements to transfer the horse to an animal shelter.

However, police and Humane Society officials showed up with a warrant and seized the horse before someone arrived from the shelter. Two horses and a colt remain on her property, Walker said.

Walker said the other incidents involve children harassing her dogs, and that no one was bitten.

The permit revocation is for 24 months and is not permanent. If Walker’s appeals fail, she would be able to get a new permit in two years.