April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Rabbits no longer considered farm animals in town

By HSJ Online [email protected]

A months-long dispute over chickens on a Hope resident's property ended with good news for rabbit owners this week.

Resident Tim Saylor had run afoul of the town's zoning ordinances last year by raising 11 chickens on his property. While researching the ordinance regulating livestock, town attorney Cindy Boll discovered that there was no copy on file of a signed ordinance prohibiting the livestock within city limits -- an oversight the Town Council fixed last month.

At Tuesday night's meeting, the Town Council adopted an amendment that specifically gave Saylor the right to keep the chickens on his property "due to the prior uncertainty of the ordinance." Saylor is now permitted to keep "no more than 11 chickens in good condition on his property."

But Town Council members noticed other inconsistencies in the existing ordinance, including that rabbits were listed as both domestic and farm animals. Tuesday's amendment clarified two types of animals:

  • Domestic animals including dogs, cats, parakeets, finches, spiders, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, rabbits, aquarium fish, ferrets and snakes used and cared for as household pets, companions or for the assistance of disabled people.

  • Farm animals including horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, mules, donkeys, camels, emus, ostrich, llamas, alpacas, mink, fox, bison, chickens, turkeys, quail, pheasants and other animals or foul of similar characteristics and any miniature versions thereof.

    The council passed the amended ordinance.

    In other business, the Town Council:

  • Heard an update from Council President Clyde Compton on the status of the employee handbook and personnel policies. He said he met with New Focus HR, the town's consultant, and found them to be knowledgeable and helpful. He said they provided good context for the town and would have a draft copy of the handbook later this month. He also recommended approving a contract of $5,000 for the company to provide the town with salary ranges and comparisions with other communities. The council approved.

  • Accepted K9 dog use agreements with Marshal Matt Talent and Officer Rick Everroad. Tallent said that the dogs have been certified by a trainer. His dog, Daisy, will only be used for drug sniffing, while Everroad's dog Duke is receiving additional training on tracking.

  • Declared the town's 1994 Ford F350 utility truck with plow and salt spreader as surplus so it could be sold. David Clouse, the utility manager, said that the truck is not operational and while he could salvage the plow and salt spreader, he thought it would be of more value to a potential buyer with that equipment.

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