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Animal ban tabled

May 30, 2012

WAYNESFIELD — Waynesfield Village Council members Tuesday tabled an ordinance banning agricultural animals within the city limits after residents came and argued their case.

Last month, councilors discussed the ordinance after Police Chief Nathan Motter asked for them to clear up language in the former ordinance that made it difficult to be enforced in the past.

Motter had pointed out three properties in the town that were in violation of the ordinance.

Becky Clark, who lives at one of the residents in question, was present with a handful of supporters at Tuesday’s Waynesfield Village Council meeting. Her property currently has six horses that violate the ordinance.

Clark’s property is one of the village’s properties that was grandfathered in when similar legislation was discussed and passed in 1990s, which resulted in the existing ordinance.

However, the ordinance spelled out that no new animals could be brought in. The property housed only two horses when the original ordinance was passed and now there are six.

Motter has recently fielded complaints from three separate residents ranging from smell and noise to flies.

Resident Lisa Nickles, who lives next door to the property, said the property does not cause any problems.

“We had a property with problems of barking dogs and a house where I can smell the cat urine, but you are going to pick on someone who doesn’t cause a problem,” Nickles said.

Clark and the handful of supporters asked that the ordinance not be enforced.

However, that potential move could cause major problems for the village. Ohio law includes horses as farm animals, so the village could not pass any ordinance specifying horses being allowed while other farm animals could not.

This leaves councilors with two options, either passing a new ordinance and grandfathering in the three residents, currently with farm animals, or dropping any legislation all together, which would open the door to other residents harboring animals.

Mayor Mike Ridenour put it up for a question with council members. While several council members backed Clark’s position on keeping the horses, a clear cut solution to problem was not forthcoming from anyone.

“We need to be consistent,” Ridenour said after the meeting. “Council is going to have to come up with something and decide what they want to do.”

Council plans to discuss the issue again next month.

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