San Diego

City Council Votes to Keep Alpacas as Pets in Escondido

A woman petitioning to keep her two Alpacas credits neighbors and city officials for finding a way to help

An Escondido woman had to go the extra mile, petitioning city council and paying thousands for a special permit to keep her pets.

"Bubba" and "Einstein" are two alpacas that Kelly Thor has living in her backyard. But when a neighbor complained about them making noise and attracting flies, the issue went all the way to Escondido's Planning Commission.

"I was worried. They're my pets, I don't want to lose them," Thor said.

City code in Escondido didn't allow the alpacas to live in Thor's backyard because, of purposes of zoning, they are regarded as cows. Although, after gaining support from other neighbors and even strangers, city officials changed their current animal regulations to allow the animals to stay.

Thor opened a GoFundMe page that raised $1,000 to help pay for a conditional use permit that cost $3,000. She also gained 1,500 signatures in an online petition.

"I was blown away, stunned, I'm forever grateful to everybody who supported us by signing the petition and donating," said Thor.

After the Escondido Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of Bubba and Einstein, it headed to city council, where they voted 5-0.

So, Bubba and Einstein will not need to alpaca their bags because they will now be able to stay and enjoy the San Diego weather.

Thor said she doesn't feel ill will towards her neighbor. She said he was standing up to what he thought was right and is happy to know she does have the support of others in the neighborhood.

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