Amos Mast and his son Dan Mast were found in contempt of court Thursday afternoon, for refusing to pay their fines and court costs in association with a violation concerning horse manure in the city of Auburn. Both men were taken into custody at approximately 2 p.m. at the Logan County Justice Center and were transported to the Logan County Detention Center.
Amos Mast was sentenced to 10 days for contempt of court on two counts to run consecutively, which means when he is done with the first 10 days, he will have to serve the second 10 days. He will get a credit for serving, which means when he gets out of jail he will no longer owe anything for the two violations. However, Amos Mast has been cited a third time by the Auburn Police Department for not having the proper reflective tape on his equipment. That case is scheduled to be heard July 15th when he and three other Amish men, who have been cited for not having collection devices, will be arraigned.
Dan Mast was sentenced to 10 days for contempt of court. He too will get out with credit served.
District Judge Ken Williams, at the request of attorney Jay Joines, continued the case which was last in court on June 25 to today to allow Joines and the Amish to try and find a common ground with the City of Auburn concerning the violations.
The City of Auburn has an ordinance on their books that requires all horses to have collection devices on them while traveling through the city limits in order to catch the manure. Thus far the Amish community that lives near Auburn has not followed the law.
A meeting was held last week between the Amish community, their attorney Joines, Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes, and county attorney Joe Ross to try out the devices. Joines said after trying them out on two horses and again by several this past weekend, it was found the devices rubbed the horses legs at a trot, which is how fast the Amish have to go sometimes while riding on a street.
Judge Williams asked both men today if they could pay their fines and court costs, to which they both replied, “yes.” Williams then asked them if they were intentionally and willfully refusing to pay the fines, to which they both replied, “yes.”
Joines said his clients were not trying to disrespect the court or the judge with their decision not to pay. Joines told the judge his clients wanted to make that clear.
There are two reasons why the Amish have decided not to use the devices, according to Joines. The first was due to rubbing the horses legs. The second, and most important, was because of concern that less experienced drivers such as women and children, might not be able to control the horse if it gets spooked at the rubbing sensation, thus causing the horse to bolt and possiblely become a safety issue to the drivers and those on the road. Most of the Amish horses are retired race horses.
“They told me they would rather go to jail than put the horses and community at risk,” said Joines, adding he will continue to represent the Amish community near Auburn, and has been instructed to continue talking with Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes to try and come up with some kind of common ground to the issue.
Joines said his clients have no problem with the ordinance that requires cleaning up after the horses, and will continue every effort to do so. It’s the portion that requires a device that they have a problem with.
“There is a lot of problems with crime in Logan County, the cities in the county and the Commonwealth of Kentucky based on addiction to drug use,” said Joines. “I am sure the City of Auburn’s resources would be better directed than writing tickets for failing to put a collection device on a horse so it won’t drop manure in the city limits.”
Joines added that horse manure was made from grass, grain, fiber, fats and mostly water. He said it was very unlikely to spread disease to humans and was less odorous that other manures.