Terre Haute residents discuss proposed changes to animal ordinance

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Thursday night city leaders held a public hearing so residents could weigh in on the city’s Animal Control Regulation. At a previous meeting the Terre Haute City Council reviewed an updated proposed ordinance. If passed the city could see several changes. They would include the banning of agricultural animals, like chickens and other livestock. 

The focus of residents attending a meeting of the Traffic, Public Safety, Special Health/Welfare Committee dealt with chickens and honey bees.  

Thursday night’s meeting was held so the residents could voice their opinions about proposed changes to the city’s animal control ordinance.  

Some of the most significant changes include allowing residents within city limits to raise honeybees. 

But it would also ban residents from having agriculture animals like chickens.  

“There were some issues in the ordinance that was proposed that would eliminate I think all of us in the city,” Beekeeper Len Mullins said.  

Mullins has made beekeeping an avid hobby for 8 years.  

After the discussion with Mullins and other beekeepers, the council made some amendments, including raising the amount of beehives an owner can have on their property and lowering the buffer around a hive from 75 square feet to 10. 

“So, they were very gracious, listened and made some proposals which would put us back in the business of hobby beekeeping,” Mullins said.   

“You go and collect a warm egg out of a nest box and eat it for breakfast, there’s nothing more defined,” Patti Weaver said.   

Patti Weaver has owned chickens since the 70’s and though she’s always lived in the county she’s seen bigger cities take steps to allow chickens. 

“I’m from a big town and a big city, and when I moved to Terre Haute it was a small farming community and it hasn’t changed a whole lot in 30 years,” Weaver said. “So, having chickens kind of goes naturally to this space and to this city. And there’s much bigger towns that allow chickens, Los Angeles was mentioned.” 

Terre Haute has not updated its Animal Control Regulations since 2009. 

Councilwoman Amy Auler is one of the sponsors of the proposal.  

She says the meeting was a good way take away  

“This is just a start of some discussion, listening to the people and what they want,” Terre Haute City Councilwoman Amy Auler said.  

The ordinance will be brought up again at Terre Haute City Council’s April 4th meeting.  

However, Councilwoman Auler says it could be tabled again.  

She says they want to get as much feedback on the ordinance before deciding.     

The ordinance would also fine pet owners who leave their animals outside in extreme weather conditions. 

Such a violation would involve a minimum 300 dollar fine. 

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