Animal Ordinance Passes Second Reading

Daily Globe News Editor

SHELBY - After some input and a few more amendments, amended ordinance 42-2015, concerning keeping of livestock in the city of Shelby, passed a second reading when members of Shelby City Council met Monday night.

Resident Charlie Roub said he felt the current ordinance on the books sufficed and said the amended ordinance was confusing.

"I remember several years ago when this ordinance came up and there was a lot of debate and just kind of working to come up with a piece of legislation that would allow folks, not only for educational purposes, but also allow other folks that need to supplement their nutrition and income by raising small animals," Roub said. "That was a long arduous process and I think the legislation passed at that time was suitable; it's workable.

"The problem we have here now is we have a piece of legislation that is very lengthy and it's confusing...," Roub continued.

"I think the intent here is to solve an issue of one location but I don't think this is the answer," Roub said. "I think the answer to the problem is to leave the ordinance as is to allow those who are responsible to continue to raise their animals, allow the FFA and the 4H the educational benefit of that.

"What we need to look at is some method of handling complaints when you get multiple complaints or multiple arrests at one location," Roub said. "And also take a look at the property owner and putting some responsibility on the property owner."

"There are a lot of responsible animal owners in Shelby and you never get complaints on these folks, but we have a piece of legislation now to take care of one problem that is going to affect many people. I don't think this is the answer."

Residents Sheryl Potts then added some comments noting she has hens and goats and has never had a complaint made against her or her animals.

"We have six hens and they're very well cared for," she said. "Our coop and our pen and our fencing, we built all in accordance with the current ordinance. Everything is exactly how it needed to be.

"I depend on those animals," Potts said. "I milk, I make cheese and yogurt and ice cream and I make soap I sell at the farm market to help pay for the feed and the hay that I use.

"I have never had a complaint about my animals. I keep my pen, my coop and my barn immaculate," Potts continued. "Number one, because I love my animals, and number two I respect my neighbors. I don't want to live in filth and I don't want my animals to live in filth.

"I have attended a couple meetings and written letters and I would hope that you would consider, if you are intent on passing this legislation, that perhaps that you consider the people who have never had a complaint about their animals," she said. "That maybe you could possibly grandfather them and allow us to keep our animals. This a way of life. We are invested in our animals, it's not cheap to do this. There is not only money involved, but there is time. If I have to move all my fencing and my coops and everything, I'm going to have a strip down the middle of my property where my animals can be."

Samantha Wilson then spoke, noting she was the resident who most of the animal complaints were about.

"I was doing some research online...I'm not sure if it's absolutely correct or not, but according to what I've seen, this (ordinance) is discriminatory to the people who are affected by the ordinance," Wilson said. "Because you can't give unconditional to 4H and FFA people and tell other people they can't have their animals.

"There have been times that my animals have smelled," Wilson said. "And I've told (neighbors) before that if they have a problem to come and talk to me and I would fix it. But nobody ever came and talked to me, they came and talked to you instead.

"I've had some people come to my house and say they don't see the problem my neighbors have with my animals," Wilson noted. "I did have 12 adult rabbits and each of those had babies, but now I'm down to just two rabbits.

"I did have four quail and the neighbors didn't like it because their son works second shift and he needs his sleep during the day so I got rid of those," Wilson said. "I had a little bit over two dozen hens but I got rid of most of them and have 12 now. So it's not that I'm not trying to make things better it just that (the neighbors) don't want to compromise.

"To me my hens give us eggs," she continued. "Right now I have about eight dozen in my refrigerator. If I don't have those eggs, on our income, we can't afford to have eggs all the time if I don't have my hens.

"The problems started out when I had my rabbits," Wilson said. "They (neighbors) didn't agree that I should be using pets as food. That was their main problem at first. Then it escalated to complaining about anything they could. Everything that I do they complain about..."

"If you could keep your comments to the ordinance, if you could please," Mayor Steve Schag said.

"Well, that's basically it," Wilson concluded.

Council then made a couple amendments to the ordinance before passing the second reading. It was noted more conversation would be needed on the ordinance before the third reading is held at the October 19 City Council meeting

Council also passed the second reading of ordinance 43-2015, concerning the location, care of barns, coops, pens or barnyard in proximity to residences and businesses of the city.

This was passed with an amendment to allow barns, coops, pens and barnyards with five feet of a property line instead of the 20 feet that was originally in the ordinance.

Additionally, Ordinance 44-2015, concerning the disposing of animal wastes, also passed the second reading.

It was noted some more discussion was needed concerning the disposal of animal waste and if it was going to be allowed to be disposed of on gardens.

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