By Jeff Gallatin
City Council’s Safety Committee again held the matter of domestic farm animal regulation in committee after another hour-and-a-half discussion. This time, Ward 1 Councilman Lou Brossard and Law Director Michael Gareau Jr. suggested keeping it in committee to fine-tune it, utilizing information obtained from northern Ohio 4-H representatives.
More than 25 citizens attended the latest meeting, most of whom wanted to make sure the city does not prohibit residents’ being able to have some animals on their property. Gareau said after discussing the matter with council members, they were changing the size of the properties affected from 1 acre to three-quarters of an acre. This would be in addition to previous amendments that eliminated the emergency clause in the proposal, meaning it would take effect 30 days after City Council passes it instead of immediately, as well as a nuisance classification clause indicating they could use an existing city ordinance.
Brossard, whose ward contains the homes from which many of the issues surrounding the ordinance seemed to stem, said afterward he is happy with how the two committee meetings have progressed.
“The final legislative piece should nicely balance the concerns of responsible farm animal owners, while still addressing some problematic situations for neighbors of farm animal owners in subdivision settings,” he said.
Brossard and Safety Committee Chairwoman Angela Williamson both showed interest in comments from several speakers involved in 4-H. When the speakers noted there are guidelines for how to handle animals, as well as how and where they are dealt with at homes, both council members requested that the 4-H officials provide them with some of that information. Some residents at the meeting thought the city could utilize the 4-H standards, with one man advocating using those guidelines instead of setting up a specific city ordinance.
Gareau noted that what may seem common sense to many people – in this case, taking proper care of animals – is not always common sense to some people, which leads to the need to create legislation.
Gareau and Brossard indicated they felt it would be best to hold the matter in committee again to consider the additional information from 4-H and any other new input. The committee agreed to do so, with Williamson saying another meeting to discuss the issue would likely take place on March 11 or some time that week, saying the final date will be set after they check people’s schedules.