Chris Cooper Managing Editor
March 20, 2014
The Auburn council members are allowing a little more time for the Amish community that passes through the city to clean up after their horses.
The issue of horse droppings on the streets of the city was once again mentioned at last week’s council’s meeting, with no concrete decision being made, other than allowing for a little more time for them to clean up after their horses.
According to Ron Mills, the city’s chief of police, they have been cleaning a little, but not enough.
“I guess they (the council) are going to give them (Amish) through spring,” said Mills. “Wait for the warmer weather.”
The issue of horse droppings in Auburn has been ongoing for close to four years. The city began receiving numerous complaints from citizens who either stepped in, or tracked home, poop from the horses, along with smelling an odor. The complaints caused the city to amend its animal ordinance over a year ago to prohibit such droppings on city streets, private properties and parking lots. Unfortunately the Amish didn’t take heed, and have even been cited for the act since.
There have been several talks between the city and Amish community over the years, with city officials asking if the droppings could be shoveled up as they go. However, not all the Amish seem to want to cooperate.
“I have talked to them over and over again,” said Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes. “This is not a new issue. In fact, it’s one I have been fighting since I came into office.”
Hughes said if the city has to, it will eventually take steps to assure this behavior will not continue, but for right now, they are giving the Amish the benefit of the doubt, hoping they will comply with the law.
The mayor said he has been told by members of the Amish community that they are concerned about their wives and children stopping buggies on the street and getting out to clean the droppings. Hughes said he told them he understood their concerns, and even went as far as making exemptions for women and children who are in a horse drawn vehicle without a man or older son.
“I told them if our police stop a buggy with just women with children, they will be told to have a nice day. I certainly wouldn’t want to put them in harms way,” said Hughes. “But they agreed with me that this does not occur a big percentage of the time.”
A few months ago, the city almost passed an ordinance forcing those who have horses in town to put collection devices on them. This idea never got passed a first reading, as the council wanted to give the Amish more time to comply.
Representatives in the Amish community say putting these bags on their horses rear-ends would spook them and become a safety hazard for all concerned.