The girl, identified only as Madeline by the Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control Department, wrote to authorities Nov. 14 with the request. It was polite but short and direct.
“Dear LA County, I would like your approval if I can have a unicorn in my backyard if I can find one. Please send me a letter in response.
Two weeks later, the director of the department, Marcia Mayeda, wrote such a letter. Her response, dated Nov. 30, said she was granting Madeline’s request — with conditions. To legally keep a unicorn, she would have to follow certain rules to ensure that her magical beast-turned-pet was well taken care of.
These include polishing the unicorn’s horn monthly with a soft cloth, treating it with watermelon at least once a week, and giving it “regular access to sunlight, moon and rainbows”. And if Madeline decides to dazzle her mythical pet, she must guarantee that “any glitter or glitter used on the unicorn must be non-toxic and biodegradable to ensure the good health of the unicorn”.
Mayeda told The Washington Post that until last month, she had never received a unicorn license application in her 21 years at the department — or any other mythical beast, for that matter. When Madeline’s letter arrived, “everyone was so touched and charmed and thrilled,” Mayeda said.
But, she added, if she receives a request for a dragon license, “I refer them to the fire chief.”
Mayeda said she and her colleagues regularly see the horrible things people do to animals – the torture and neglect that sometimes proves fatal. They see the horrible things that animals do to people – brutal mutilations that are also sometimes fatal. And they often have to make difficult decisions to euthanize animals when they are deemed too sick or too dangerous.
“It can be very emotionally draining to deal with this kind of life or death stuff all the time,” Mayeda said.
Madeline’s letter was therefore a godsend, which supported Mayeda and her colleagues for weeks, she said.
Part of their joy comes from how impressed they are with Madeline, Mayeda said. Even though she’s in first grade, she didn’t think she could keep a unicorn. When her mother told her she might need some sort of government approval, the two went online to find out which agency was responsible for issuing pet licenses and how to get one. Within an hour, Madeline had written her request. The mother and daughter did more research to find out where to send him.
“She thought a lot about that,” Mayeda said. “She was doing the right thing by contacting the licensing agency to make sure it would be okay for her to have a unicorn. And we definitely wanted to respond and encourage that kind of behavior.
“She has a bright future ahead of her,” she added.
Even though Mayeda dated her letter Nov. 30 and the department released a photo of it Tuesday, Madeline hasn’t received it yet, the director said. Mayeda consulted with the girl’s mother, who said her daughter would have the most joy learning her unicorn license on her birthday.
So animal control has a few things waiting for her when she comes to the department at the end of next week, including Mayeda’s letter, the actual unicorn license, and a red “Permanent Unicorn License” heart tag. “which they hung around the neck of a soft toy. animal unicorn.
But that’s just a placeholder for the real deal. Now that she’s gotten animal control’s blessing to have a pet unicorn, Madeline must now find and catch one.