ARCANUM — The Arcanum Village Council approved an ordinance during its Tuesday night session prohibiting the keeping of farm animals within village limits.
The ordinance, 2017-46, passed unanimously after its third reading. It states, in part, “No person shall shelter, maintain, keep or harbor a farm animal, including horses, cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine, alpacas, and llamas, on any residential property within the municipal limits of the Village of Arcanum, Ohio.”
Those found in violation of the ordinance will be charged with a minor misdemeanor.
The ordinance states the village had been approached with complaints and inquiries regarding the keeping of certain farm animals by village residents. It further notes there are very few residential properties within Arcanum large enough to ensure the keeping of any type of farm animal would not result in a nuisance to adjacent residents due to noise, odor, waste management, and the need for additional accessory structures.
The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days, or October 26. After that, the village will send a letter giving residents believed to be in violation of the rule 45 days to remove the animals from their premises or face charges.
The Village of Versailles, close in population to Arcanum, also has an ordinance on its books banning farm animals.
Perhaps surprisingly, the City of Greenville, the county’s largest municipality, with a population of 12,000, has no ordinance on the books prohibiting the keeping of farm animals by residents within city limits.
A City spokesperson said residents, however, do have to abide by the city’s noise ordinance, so if a farm animal would be making too much noise, it could be an issue.
Ohio State University Darke County Extension Educator Sam Custer said there has been an upward trend toward more “backyard farms” in the United States, especially those raising poultry for eggs.
“There appears to be more people interested in having a backyard flock of chickens than in the past,” he said.
He did express concerns regarding the practice, however.
“My first concern is for the industry. This could be a real concern if we would have another Avian Influenza Outbreak,” he said. “This would be a prime way to spread the disease.”
Custer also expressed reservations concerning the quality of life for farm-type animals kept at residences.
“Animal welfare would be a concern,” he said. “Water and air quality are critical. Also safety from predator animals becomes an issue.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) harbors similar concerns, not only for the health of bird flocks, but also for human health.
“Live poultry might have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks), even when they appear healthy and clean,” says a CDC informational guide. “The germs can get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, hay, plants, and soil in the area where the birds live and roam. Germs also can get on the hands, shoes, and clothes of people who handle or care for the birds.”
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com