California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division
Court County No. 56-2014-00455399-CU-WM-VTA of Ventura Rocky
J. Baio, Judge
Casselman Law Group, David B. Casselman, David Polinsky, Kirk
S. Comer for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Smith, County Counsel, Andrew Gschwind, Assistant County
Counsel, for Defendant and Respondent.
GILBERT, P. J.
case calls to mind the poem “The Tyger” from
Songs of Experience by William Blake, the last stanza of
which reads: “Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright In the
forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame
thy fearful symmetry!”
Hauser applied for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up
to five tigers on her property. The county planning
commission and board of supervisors denied her application.
She petitioned the trial court for a writ of administrative
mandate. She appeals the trial court's denial of the
petition. We affirm and decide, among other things, that
substantial evidence supports the findings of the Ventura
County Board of Supervisors (Board).
submitted an application to the County of Ventura (County)
for a CUP to keep up to five tigers on her 19-acre property.
The property is located in an unincorporated area of the
County near the City of Malibu. The project would include
three tiger enclosures, a 13, 500-square-foot arena with a
roof over 14 feet in height at its highest point. It would be
surrounded by an eight-foot-high chain link fence
encompassing over seven acres.
property is located within a half-mile of 57 residential
lots, 28 of which currently have residences on them. There
are 46 homes within a mile of the project. In addition, there
are two children's camps within two to three miles of the
property. The rugged topography combined with the dense
vegetation would make retrieval of an escaped animal
difficult even with the use of GPS devices.
represented in her application that she, her sister, their
husbands or children would be on site with the tigers, with
at least one family member on site at all times. Hauser and
her sister have attended an eight-day class on animal
husbandry, safety and training. The website for the course
states, “There is no written exam nor any reading
necessary for completing this course. All students receive
Certificates of Completion.” Their husbands and
children have no formal training.
animals would be used in the entertainment business,
including movie sets, commercials and still photography. The
animals would be transported from the property by sport
utility vehicle or truck up to 60 times a year.
opposed the project. They presented a petition containing
approximately 11, 000 signatures in opposition. In addition,
opponents presented news stories of numerous deaths and
injuries from captive big cats. Opponents also presented
video showing two tigers uncaged in the backyard of
Hauser's Beverly Hills home and photographs of Hauser and
her sister with the tigers uncaged on a beach. Hauser claimed
that for the beach photographs there were barriers and safety
personnel out of camera view.
planning commission denied Hauser's permit application,
and Hauser appealed to the Board. After a hearing, the Board
voted four-to-one to deny Hauser's application.
denying the application, the Board found Hauser failed to
prove two elements necessary for a CUP: the project is
compatible with the planned uses in the general area, and the
project is not ...