Every catholic family I eve knew that had a nativity scene including the big industrial sized ones in the city centre square had animals.<quoted text>
I don't believe the Church ever stated that animals were in the stable. Does it matter? People are free to envision the Birth setting how they want provided it doesn't contradict scripture.
I would bet that if you have a nativity scene you have a bunch of little toy cows, camels, other barnyard animals, and tiny singing nuns or angels, placed strategically within a little fence that keeps them all in.
You say it doesn't matter, but I bet you have them. Am I right?