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Farm animal registry might be too time-consuming for city officials

By Joanne Beck


A suggestion from City Planning and Development Committee members may have seemed like a good idea for better controlling farm animals, but it’s on a proposed chopping block for City Council’s Monday meeting.

The planning committee was tasked last month to review city code for the keeping of farm animals within city property and make some recommendations for how to deal with specific issues on a city-wide scale.

Neighbor complaints about goats running loose on Burke Drive were, in large part, what drove council to take another look at the animal ordinance. The group wanted the planning committee also to review it since committee members -- including Code Enforcement Officer Doug Randall -- were more versed with city code details.

The committee recommended a limit of six chickens on any one property, and implementing a system — to create a paper trail and more tracking — to document what types of animal species, how many, and where they are located, for city residents.

It seemed like a good idea, and one that would let city officials know who had what at their properties, committee members had agreed.

However, after reviewing the recommendations with city staff and the attorney, “we respectfully disagree with the addition of section E,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said in a memo to council.

“The intent of the new law was to restrict animal and fowl in the city and provide code enforcement clear and concise guidelines for citing violations,” Tabelski said. “The city does not have the staff or resources to create an animal registry, to tag, and track pre-existing animals. Therefore, and with respect to the PDC’s deliberation, I recommend that the City Council strike section E from the proposed code revision.”

If approved by council, the code revisions will revert back to City Council for consideration and to set a public heading to receive public feedback before considering a local law adoption.

That public hearing is to be set for 7 p.m. Sept. 12. Council's conference session is at 7 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers, City Hall.

File photo of Jill Turner of Batavia with some of her goats at a summer event. Neighbors have complained about the goats getting loose, and the smell of goats and chickens, prompting a City Council review of a farm animal ordinance in the city code. Photo by Joanne Beck.

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