July 24--Couples getting hitched in Los Altos should have an easier time incorporating horses into their ceremonies going forward.
On Tuesday night, the City Council voted to amend an ordinance barring the leading or riding of large animals on city streets and public property to include an exception for horses at weddings.
"Who needs Google? We have horses!" quipped Mayor Megan Satterlee, referring to media attention to one couple's request to use a white mare in a June 15 wedding at the Los Altos History Museum.
Anupam Pathak and Theresa Bruketta appealed to the five-member council for an exception in February when police Chief Tuck Younis said he had no choice but to uphold the ordinance.
According to a report by City Clerk Jon Maginot, the council has received and approved a total of two requests since 2012. The amendment gives the city manager or her designee the authority to grant future requests, provided they don't endanger public safety.
"I'm sure our chief is delighted that he no longer has to be what is perceived as a bad guy in all of this," said Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, adding that she didn't believe the ordinance was intended to bar the use of horses at weddings. "I think this is an elegant solution."
The white mare was a central part of Pathak and Bruketta's ceremony, which fused Indian and Western traditions. In India, the groom customarily rides in a baraat, or wedding procession, to greet the bride's family.
The council asked city staff to bring forward an amendment after granting the couple's request for an exception.
"I personally think we need to respect the traditions and cultures of our residents," said Councilwoman Val Carpenter when the request was granted in February. "Twenty-three percent of our residents are now foreign-born. The city is changing. It's becoming more diverse."
Email Jason Green at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him at twitter.com/jgreendailynews.
(c)2014 the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Visit the Palo Alto Daily News (Menlo Park, Calif.) at www.paloaltodailynews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services