A family's last-ditch effort to save their horses has been denied.

The Dangremond family in Salisbury, N.B., has owned their horse Misty for three years and Reiner for a year and a half. They’ve been asking Salisbury Village Council to have their property zoned rural so they could keep the horses, but a 3-2 vote Tuesday night defeated the motion.

“The horses are here where they belong,” says horse owner Gerrie Dangremond. “We're going to fight for them so they can stay.”

Gerrie Dangremond says one concern the village council expressed was the horses' urine could contaminate local wells.

“It's no danger to wells if two horses walk in a big field,” she says. “The pack of coyotes here in the back, they would do more damage.”

The Dangremonds argued that an adjacent, one-acre property that is actually closer to the village centre is zoned as rural.

“There are some people against it. I can understand that. But the majority of the people are in favour of the horses being where they are, bothering no one and adding to the community,” says neighbour Don Henderson.

Letters and phone calls of support have come from across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario for the Dangremonds. More than 850 people from the village signed a petition in support of the family. Another 700 have signed an online petition.

Valerie Dangremond just turned 16. She works at a nearby dairy farm to raise money to buy feed and medication for Reiner, who suffers from arthritis.

“I love spending time with them. It's great. I don't want to spend my time doing anything else than just being with them,” Valerie says.

“Just looking out your bedroom window and seeing your own horses is awesome. A lot of people can't have that and it's incredible. Hopefully we'll be able to keep that.”

Repeated efforts by CTV News to reach Salisbuy's mayor were unsuccessful. The Dangremonds were not told how long they had to move their animals, but say the fight isn't over yet.

The family is considering taking the matter to court and has retained Saint John lawyer Paul Zedd to represent them in what could be their last chance to save their horses.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.