Two special called meetings are being held Thursday and Friday of this week to determine if the city of Auburn will force the Amish community to place collection devices on their horses while traveling through the city. These “bags” will prevent any horse droppings from collecting on the streets or in parking lots.
A first reading was held Thursday and a second reading is to be held Friday to amend the city’s current animal ordinance, which will drop “collect” from the law, leaving only “capture.” That means the Amish community, or any other person(s) riding a horse through town or pulling a horse drawn vehicle, will have to have collection devices.
Mayor Mike Hughes said this was well overdue and the city has given plenty of opportunity to the Amish community to do the right thing. Handshake deals have been made and failed, as well as dropping this amendment one other time it was brought to the council table giving the Amish yet another chance to clean up after their horses.
Numerous complaints have been made concerning the droppings, which some have said gets stuck in their tires and brings smell back to their homes.
This is not the first time the Amish community traveling through Auburn has been in the spotlight. In 2011 several Amish individuals found themselves in court over violating the law of having to place a triangular slow moving vehicle sign on their buggies. The Old Order Swartzentruber group that lives on the outskirts of Auburn and neighboring Simpson County claimed the triangle was against their covenant with God and was to flashy for their blending lifestyle and refused to adorn it.
The Amish won this battle, however, after Governor Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 75 into law in 2012 allowing an alternative to be placed in the state law now allowing 100 inches of reflective tape to be placed on the rear of a slow moving vehicle, along with several inches of tape placed on other areas. Although not hailed as a religious bill, it certainly had religious meaning for some Old Order Amish in the Commonwealth and in Auburn.
It is unclear at this time if the Amish community traveling through Auburn will adhere to the prospective change, however, according to the law, if passed, if they don’t, they will be in violation of the law and fines will certainly follow.