North Judson to Evict Chickens, Town Council to Continue Reviewing Animal Ordinance (6/20)

posted Jun 20, 2017, 8:51 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
Posted on June 20, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 

North Judson’s chickens will soon have to find a new home.

After reviewing the town’s existing animal ordinance, Town Council President Wendy Hoppe said Monday that it clearly prohibits farm animals from being kept inside the town limits. “These animals include but are not limited to the following species: cattle, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, swine, goats, chickens, roosters, geese, turkeys, ducks, and other related fowl, et cetera,” Hoppe read from the ordinance.

However, members of the Ransom family previously said they had a letter from the town, saying they could continue to have a certain number of chickens. During Monday’s town council meeting, though, Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins said the Ransoms failed to present such a letter to town officials, as requested.

The town council voted to have police officer Frank Thomas enforce the ordinance and remove the chickens. But since they’re being raised as part of a 4-H project, Thomas agreed to let the chickens stay until after next month’s county fair. “They can get through their 4-H, and then it’s dinner time, or however you want to look at it,” he said.

Council member Jane Ellen Felchuk opposed the motion, due to some concerns with the animal ordinance as it currently exists. Specifically, she wanted to see a provision explicitly prohibiting the feeding of feral cats.

Collins agreed the ordinance needs some review, since enforcing it would also mean 4-H families in more rural parts of town would also have to give up their animals. “We may need to look at doing an acreage thing or something,” Collins said. “Obviously, people that live right in the middle of town do not have eight acres that they could have animals on, but some people that live on the boundaries of town that have 4-H animals do and that were annexed in. So that will be the next thing that we’re going to deal with.”

Town Attorney Justin Schramm agreed to start researching other communities’ animal ordinances. However, he reminded council members that any ordinance needs to be based on rational standards and can’t be designed to target individual people.