Covington residents respond to animal control ordinance

By Aimee Hancock

ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com

COVINGTON — The Covington Village Council heard from members of the community Monday evening regarding a pending ordinance which would allow for regulation of animals within the village.

The ordinance, which had a second reading during Monday’s meeting, would specifically regulate three categories of animals within the village limits, which are as follows:

• Farm animals: cows, bulls, goats, swine, sheep, horses, donkeys, cattle, llamas, emus, and all other similar species.

• Wild animals: bears, deer, wolves, foxes, skunks, raccoons, monkeys, apes, weasels, and exotic animals, such as jaguars, tigers, lions, and any other animal that by its nature is not domesticated.

• Fowl: ducks, roosters, geese, pheasants, turkeys, peacocks, hens, and any other wild and domestic Fowl, not including chickens.

Prior to public comment, the ordinance did include chickens as part of the proposed controlled group of Fowl. Taking into consideration a common concern about students in 4-H and FFA, council members agreed to remove chickens from the restricted animals’ list.

Village resident Adam Bennett said he does not understand the reasoning behind the proposed ordinance.

“I would just like to mention that we find it a little overreaching to cut out farm animals and, specifically, the Fowl, in our case,” he said. “Just speaking from a small rural community, I’m struggling to see what the causation for this would be, and how it would help our community.”

Bennett said he felt it “quite reasonable” to ban jaguars, tigers, bears, and other wild animals, but said he did not see how the outlaw of other farm-type animals would “protect the citizens of our community.”

Resident Julie Blumenstock shared specific concerns regarding 4-H students who raise animals as part of their participation in the organization.

Resident Amy Welborn, who currently owns chickens and hens, agreed with the proposition to exclude chickens from the restricted list. She noted the importance of the animals to her family and children, and highlighted the acceptance from those who live around her.

“It has created community; we share our eggs with our neighbors, and I would say, either our neighbors like our chickens or there are neighbors who have no clue that we have them,” she said.

Council members Dawn Duff, Jesse Reynolds, and Bud Weer shared that they agree with public comment regarding fowl, and the council voted to modify the proposed ordinance to allow the keeping of chickens.

The ordinance will appear before council again at the next regular meeting for a third reading and final approval.

Also during Monday’s meeting:

• Village Administrator Kyle Hinkelman said the village offices will open back up on May 1.

• A second reading was held on a resolution authorizing the village administrator to enter into a contract with iWorq for property management software.

• A first reading was held on an ordinance regulating semi-trucks on village streets.

• A resolution was passed to authorize the village administrator to enter into an agreement with Mark Landis for contract employment for lawn and garden services with the village.

• A first reading was held on a resolution to adopt a strategic plan for the village.