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May 24, 2013 8:09 PM by Akeam Ashford

Parish President Says Parish Overlooked Law

The recent violence following an Acadia Parish trail ride, and death threats of retaliation in St. Landry Parish, has forced officials to cancel the 'Kountry Bunnies' trail ride. St. Landry Parish President, Bill Fontenot, says he had to cancel the trail ride because the group didn't get all the appropriate paperwork from State Police to ride on Highway 31.

Event organizers say, initially, they weren't told they needed the approval. "Three days before our ride, they decided we weren't going to have our ride because we needed a paper from State Troopers stating, that no horses can be on state highways," says Walker. Trail riders are afraid the cancellation could threaten all future St. Landry Parish events. The Kountry Bunnies met with the Parish President today to determine what to do next.

Fontenot says, "That's been an oversight, and now that we know about it, we have to respect it, or try to work our way to resolve that issue so trail rides can continue in our parish."

In a meeting with riders, Fontenot says they're studying the permit laws because of the increase in violence. Bunnies member Crystal Davis agrees. "We wanted to talk to them about stopping the violence and just try to get things back to a family environment," says Davis.

For this family, this is a generational. "It's a cultural thing. Our grandfathers, uncles, and family been trail riding for a long period of time, and we just want to keep that going," says Walker. Walker taught her daughter, Johnique Davis, who's now teaching her son. "Its taken a whole lot away from me. My little boy is two and he's growing up to do the same thing, love horses," says Davis.

Davis says the rides are about more than horses. "We do a lot of things for the community. For the last three years we've done Easter parades, we've done full meal baskets during Easter, so we do help the community."

After the meeting, Fontenot said he would allow the group to have their event, without the ride, but group members say they've already cancelled vendors and want to wait until they can have a trail ride.

Akeam@katctv.com

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