City Council passes change to animal-control ordinance

Animals commonly referred to as “livestock” or “farm animals” will no longer be welcome in Columbus under an amendment to the city’s Animal Control Ordinance.

The city council voted five-to-two Tuesday night to limit what animals are acceptable as pets within city limits. The amendment came about after concern was raised last year about some city residents maintaining chicken coops on their property. A committee, led by Councilman Frank Miller, investigated the issue. He said during Tuesday night’s council meeting that most city residents choose to live in the city in order to get away from things like livestock, and other aspects associated more with life in a rural setting. Councilwoman Elaine Wagner, who was also on the committee, seemed surprised by Miller’s statements, stating that she was under the impression that the committee came away with another suggestion that would allow chickens to be kept under certain guidelines. Wagner, a Democrat, said that she favors letting people do as they please on, and with, their private property.

Tuesday night’s meeting was moved to the Cal Brand meeting room in City Hall, in anticipation of a large turnout. About three-dozen residents showed up, where many speakers expressed their desire for chickens to be allowed as pets. A few others spoke out in favor of the change, noting concerns with possible health issues, smell and other aspects.

When discussion was wrapped up, most council members agreed with Miller. Republican Laurie Booher joined Wagner in voting “no.” The second reading of the amendment is scheduled for July 5th in City Hall. If passed on second reading, those with non-approved animals will have 60 days to remove them from city limits.