Waynesboro city leaders had their first discussion in more than six months on the topic of animal control, revisiting a topic that was the subject of controversy last summer and into the fall.
No decisions were made at a brief Waynesboro City Council work session Monday evening, with the consensus of City Council members being to continue their discussions at their next scheduled business meeting in two weeks.
City Manager Mike Hamp went over a revised proposed draft ordinance at the work session. The revised ordinance left out proposed restrictions on the number of cats and dogs that could be owned by city residents, and had been the source of much wailing and gnashing of teeth when first proposed.
The new draft does propose a restriction on the number of backyard chickens, at 12, and would prohibit roosters in backyard flocks.
City Council members seem intent on allowing those who have backyard flocks over the limits either on the number of chickens or having any roosters to have until July 1, 2025, to cull their flocks, via a grandfather clause, though Vice Mayor Lana Williams went on the record to say that she would prefer not having any time limit on those with current flocks to have to come into compliance.
“My preference would be to not do it at all, but if we’re going to do it, I’d want to go with the longest time period possible,” Williams said.
The draft ordinance from Hamp also would deal with backyard pigs being kept as pets by reinforcing the current prohibition. City Council seems clear on the point that it would like to lift the prohibition to allow people to continue to keep smaller pigs as pets.
“When I look at this, I wonder, what problem are we addressing here?” Ward D Councilor Sam Hostetter said. “I don’t know that we have a lot of agricultural pigs in their backyards. I think we need to look at ways to differentiate. Nobody is calling the city on pot-bellied pigs being kept as pets.”
Story by Chris Graham