- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014

HICKMAN, Neb. (AP) - An elderly horse that drew worldwide attention when his owner refused to comply with a local ordinance barring livestock inside city limits has died.

Peter Rabbit, a Morgan-quarter horse crossbreed, died in mid-January at the age of 38 - or about 120 in horse years, the Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/MjdUKt ) Saturday.

Veterinarian Kelly Anderson took Peter Rabbit to live on his property just south of Hickman in 2009 after the horse’s eviction from town. Anderson said this year’s harsh winter may have been a factor in the horse’s death.

“He was getting along pretty good all summer,” Anderson said. “He was running around and stuff.”

The horse became a celebrity after his owner, 82-year-old Harley Scott, fought Hickman City Hall to allow Peter Rabbit to live out his life in the pasture where he was born in 1976. The pasture had been outside city limits then, but was enveloped by the growing Lincoln bedroom community of about 1,700 in the years that followed.



The city ordered the horse out of town in 2008 and threatened Scott with a $100 fine for every day the horse stayed. Scott eventually agreed to let Anderson take the horse.

News of the two-year brouhaha struck a chord with people around the world. The Hickman city office had to set up a separate email account to handle a flood of correspondence, mostly from people who ridiculed leaders for picking on the old horse.

Scott recalled the days Peter Rabbit would wander over to watch kids get off the school bus. Scott said he often gave the kids apples so they could feed the horse.

“I wish I could have petted him one more time, but I didn’t make it,” he told the newspaper.

___

Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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