Amish to contest Auburn city ordinance

By Chris Cooper -

Twelve Amish men are contesting the constitutionality of Auburn’s Animal Ordinance, which requires collection devises on all large animals traveling through the city. The number of complainants is expected to climb as citations are continuing to be issued.

Attorney Travis Locke is representing the Amish men and has filed a discovery motion, as well as challenged the city’s law through district court.

Locke also wants to obtain a white notebook belonging to Auburn Police Chief Larry Jones. The notebook, according to Locke is used by Jones when he initiates stops.

“I know there are videos that have been taken from Chief Jones’s body cam, but I would like to see his notebook as well,” said Locke at a hearing held Wednesday, Oct. 26 before District Judge Ken Williams. The 12 Amish men appeared for violating the Animal Ordinance set forth by the City of Auburn.

The ordinance requires all large animals traveling through the City of Auburn to have collection devices to prevent manure from collecting on the streets. Auburn’s City 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.

Numerous Amish individuals have refused to follow the ordinance resulting in several citations over the past few years since the ordinance passed. There have been many court appearances and even jail time served. The Amish involved have expressed their belief they are being persecuted and picked on by the city.

District Judge Williams gave Locke 60 days to submit a brief, which will lay out in detail why he feels the law is unconstitutional and why he feels it discriminates against the group of people he represents. Logan County Attorney Joe Ross will have the same allotted time for rebuttal. Judge Williams set April 26, 2017, at 10 a.m. for oral arguments on the case.

Locke said he feels the ordinance singles out the Amish in Auburn.

“The Logan District Court is charged with presiding over the citations issued,” said Locke. “We are contesting the statute as it is being applied to a particular group of people. This is discriminating and is singling out a select group of Amish in the Auburn community.”

Locke also said he would be exploring the option of filing a law suit to sue the City of Auburn, it’s mayor and police chief for violating the Constitutional rights of the Amish involved.

“This is a good case for a Federal lawsuit,” Locke ended.

By Chris Cooper

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email or call 270-726-8394.

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