An Amish juvenile cited in the City of Auburn in October 2012 for failure to pick up the droppings from a horse, paid a $50 fine recently stopping all proceeds to take the case to court for collection.
Auburn Police Chief Ron Mills cited the juvenile after his horse defecated on the street in front of the Auburn Elementary School one morning while he was directing traffic. The juvenile driving the buggy kept going, said Mills and did not pick up the droppings, which is in violation to the city’s animal ordinance.
Mills said the Amish are supposed to pick up their horses’ droppings, but haven’t been cooperating as expected. He hopes this recent action will bring about change.
“They came in and paid and talked with us and said with the new year and new mayor they wanted to start with a clean slate,” said Mills. “They said they understood it was the law and wanted to do everything they could to cooperate with the law and the rules.”
After Mills cited the juvenile in October, which carried a $50 fine, it was to be paid within 10 days, however, Mills said the 10 days came and went, which prompted him to go and talk to one of the elders of the group the boy was affiliated. Mills had told the elder if they wanted to contest the fine they could come before the city council, which they did. Amos Mast came and spoke to the council saying he would tell his fellow Amish to clean up after their horses better, but the fine still wasn’t paid said Mills, so he made a second visit to find out what was going to be done.
Mills said the Amish questioned where the money from the fine would go and how much time the street department had to spend picking up horse droppings. Mills said they hadn’t made up their minds as of the second visit what they were going to do about the fine. Mills spoke with county attorney Joe Ross about what the city could do if the citation was not paid. The City intended to take the case to court to collect, said Mills, but now that does not have to be done.
“I’m glad they realize this is the law and there are consequences they will be responsible for,” said Mills. “They are supposed to pick up after their animals every time.”
Mills said he understands that sometimes it’s hard if there is a young girl with a bunch of kids in the buggy to stop the horse and get out to pick up the droppings, but says that is why he thinks using a collection devise would work and would be self-correcting, causing the issue to go away. Mills says the Amish, however, will not use the collection devises because they feel it will spook the horses.
“I know it would be something new, but horses can be trained to do that. Other cities require collections devises. The horse may balk at it first, but if you work with horses long enough it becomes part of the rigging,” said Mills.
The city of Auburn amended its animal ordinance earlier in 2012 to include “all animals.” According to the ordinance no person shall 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 animal’s excrement; nor shall any person fail to remove any excrement deposited by any animal under his or her control on public or private property.