Amish have three days to pay fines or be held in contempt

Amos Mast and his son Dan Mast are scheduled to appear in court Thursday, June 25 to pay fines they owe to the City of Auburn, as well as court costs they owe to the county after being found guilty in April of violating an animal ordinance.

Amos Mast owes the court $386 and Dan Mast owes $193. Since the trial Amos has been cited again for the same violation.

If the two men do not pay their fines and court costs, they will be held in contempt of court and will have to go in front of district judge Ken William and explain to him why they haven’t done so. The two Amish men could face jail time if they do not pay the costs.

Amos Mast told the N-D&L after his trial that he did not intend to pay his fines and was ready to go to jail for it. He said he had spoken with other Amish communities in the state, as well as out of state, who have urged him not to buckle on this issue because then it would set precedent and all would be made to follow the ordinance set forth by the Auburn City Council.

The City of Auburn amended its animal ordinance months ago to include collection devises on horses when they couldn’t get the Amish to clean up after themselves. Complaints of horse manure on the streets pushed the city council to act by amending its current animal ordinance to include the collection devises.

The problem of horse manure has been ongoing for years, according to Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes, who did not want to go to these lengths, but he and his council felt the city had no choice.

“We have been trying for years to get our Amish neighbors to clean up the manure from their horses, but it hasn’t worked,” said Hughes. “We represent the city as a whole and not just one part of it.”

The ordinance reads: No person should allow an animal under his or her control to be upon public property, including streets within the city limits of Auburn, or upon the property of another, absent the consent of the owner or occupant of the property, without some device for the removal and/or containment of the animals excrement; nor shall any person fail to remove any excrement deposited by any animal under his or her control on public or private property. This action shall not apply to guide dogs under control of a blind person.

A properly fitted collection device shall be securely placed on all horses or other large animals while such animals are on the street within the city limits of Auburn. The sole exception of this requirement shall be for special events when cleanup crews are provided as part of the event.

Amos Mast feels like this recent action by the City of Auburn is just one more incident, and he believes there will be more. The Masts say they do not want to use the devises because it is cruel to the horses and it is also a safety hazard if the animals become spooked due to the tapping of the devise on their backside.

Auburn Police Chief Larry Jones has located a device that is made by the Amish and that does not touch the horse. Jones brought the devise to the Mast trial, however, both men would not entertain using it.

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