Two of several trials to be held including individuals of the Swartzentruber Amish community near Auburn were heard Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Logan County District Court. Wilbur Mast and Rudy P. Miller were the individuals on trial, each convicted of six counts for violating Auburn’s Animal Ordinance requiring collection devices to be placed on large animals traveling through the city limits.
Mast had seven violations, but was acquitted on one. All incidents were videoed from a body camera worn by Auburn Chief of Police, Larry Jones. The two juries were able to view the traffic stops that ultimately drew citations.
Both men as part of their convictions, are required to pay $300 in fines ($50 for each violation) and $143 in court costs. They have time to pay the fines or will be held in contempt of court and face possible jail time.
In 2015, Amos Mast and his son Dan were found guilty for violating the ordinance and refused to pay the fines and court costs. This action landed both men in jail for over a week.
Larry Jones, Auburn’s Chief of Police, recorded most of the traffic stops with Mast and Miller on a body camera. The jury was able to view the video before making its decision.
Auburn’s City Council amended its animal ordinance in June 2014 to include collection devises to capture excrement and prevent it from landing on city streets and parking areas. The council took action after receiving complaints of horses leaving behind an unpleasant aftermath.
It has been said by some the manure is smelly and also a safety hazard. According to Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes a child slipped in manure while crossing the street to get to school and fell. The Amish too say it is a safety hazard for them to outfit their horses with collections devises. Some Amish say they feel collection devices spook the retired race horses they use to pull their buggies, most feel they are being picked on by the city. Others have recently cited religion as being a reason for non-compliance.
There are 11 defendants and 24 cases left to try. Those are continued to Sept. 6. Out of the violations tried Wednesday, 12 were committed in 2016 and one was in 2017.
Because these cases are ongoing, County Attorney Joe Ross declined comment at this time.
Travis Locke was in court Wednesday representing the Mast and Miller.
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