For Immediate Release: October 25, 2022′

LOS ANGELES — Today, Councilmember Nithya Raman introduced a motion, co-presented by Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield and Paul Koretz, to explore whether or not to renew the concession contract with the current operator of the Griffith Park Pony Rides, which is set to expire on December 22, 2022. This motion follows legislation introduced by Councilmember Raman in December of last year requiring a third-party equine expert to review and report on the policies and practices of the operation to ensure the horses were being well cared for. The resulting investigation concluded that while there was no evidence of egregious animal welfare abuse or neglect, the operator was in violation of various animal welfare state laws, including the requirement to maintain up-to-date health records for each animal.

“While the Griffith Park pony rides have been an LA staple for children from across the City since the 1940s, we need to look into alternative models for children to interact with and learn about horses that does not include the continued use of these ponies for entertainment,” said Councilmember Raman. “At this point in time, we do not believe the City of Los Angeles can in good faith move forward with the extension of this contract without understanding the implications this will have on the health and well-being of the ponies.”

“While this doesn’t bring a decisive conclusion to an issue that I feel needs one sooner than later, it’s an important step in that direction,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz. “The Department of Recreation and Parks needs to deal with the pony ride situation head-on and I hope this will make that happen.”

Councilmember Raman’s motion instructs the Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) to report in 15 days on the findings of the assessments conducted by the third-party equine veterinarian and possible next steps based on the findings, including withholding any further extensions of the contract with the current operator of the Griffith Park Pony Rides. The legislation further instructs RAP to report to Council on a process to move the City away from the operations of the Griffith Park Pony rides, if it is determined the contract should not be renewed. This report should include the potential of replacing the pony rides with a different model that is rooted in the humane treatment of animals and that continues to give children from low-income families the opportunity to interact with, care for, and learn about horses at an affordable cost.