Three Amish men were cited for violating an animal ordinance in the City of Auburn last week. Hezekiah Miller, Amos Mast and Wilbur Mast were all found to be breaking the law by not having a collection devise behind their horses while traveling through town.
This is the fourth violation for Amos Mast, who has already served jail time in 2015 for not paying his fines and court costs. His son Dan Mast was also jailed for the same infraction. This is Mr. Miller’s first violation and second for Wilbur Mast.
Amos Mast was stopped on West Main Street hauling a cattle trailer, Wilbur was seen on Sugar Maple and Miller on Wilson Avenue.
According to Auburn Police Chief Larry Jones there is more manure on the streets in Auburn than ever. It was getting somewhat better at the end of last year when some of the Amish began using collection devises. Now it seems the situation has gotten worse.
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. They feel it can spook the retired race horses they use to pull their buggies. Some Amish have said they feel they are being picked on by the city.
Since the ordinance change there have been over a dozen citations written, three of those taken to a jury trial. In January a jury found John Mast not guilty for violating the city’s ordinance. He did not have a collection devise on his buggy and was stopped in the Auburn Minit Mark parking lot. The verdict surprised Auburn’s mayor, who was disappointed in the verdict.
“I’m not really sure what happen. I can assume by the verdict that we obviously didn’t clarify to the jurors the violation was for not having a device, instead where the stop was made,” said Hughes. There is some speculation the Minit Mart is private property, and therefore if stopped there cannot be cited. Others disagree.
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.
Police chief Jones has been taking a lot of heat for stopping the Amish. He says he is only doing his job and what he is hired to do, which is enforce the city ordinances that are passed by the council.
“I don’t make the laws, I am hired to make sure others follow them,” said Jones.
It is unclear at this time if the three Amish who were most recently cited will pay their $50 fine for the violation or take the citation to court. In the past anonymous persons have paid the Amish fines.