City of Purdy passes new detailed livestock ordinance

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New regulations grandfather present animals, restrict farm animals

After delaying action for two months in hopes that issues would resolve themselves, the Purdy City Council changed directions and adopted a detailed new livestock ordinance in September.

Mayor Bo Prock told aldermen the key question was whether or not the city would impose governance over livestock. Enforcement of restrictions had relaxed over time, resulting in reports of everything from chickens to a donkey living in and on the edges of town.

Prock explained the ordinance, tabled in July after council members became indecisive, would not allow farm animals, including roosters, cattle, sheep, goats and swine, inside the city limits. Animals within the city at the time of passage could stay under a grandfather status, but could not be replaced “when they die.” Animals introduced illegally could be removed by order of the municipal judge.

The mayor conceded the ordinance would be difficult to enforce.

Alderman Brian Bowers said he had been “stewing” over the issue. He recognized many cities had taken the easier route and banned livestock altogether, while he preferred establishing some minimum acreage requirements short of an outright ban or imposing zoning, which Purdy does not have.

“If you allow livestock,” Prock said, “I think there will be a problem telling one person he has to mow when there’s someone else who has a pasture who doesn’t have to mow.”

Alderman Bobby Baker said he had not changed his mind from the last discussion in July. Fellow alderman Austin Hammen acknowledged he felt the same way. Alderman Scott Redshaw said he was on the fence. He observed one section of the ordinance sanctioning the school district to have livestock was unnecessary, since state law already sanctioned the FFA program having animals on school property. Enforcement of previous livestock standards had lagged after the school district asked the city to allow its livestock activities.

Baker and Hammen put the question up for a vote. After some hesitation, Redshaw chose to vote for the ordinance. Bowers, already outnumbered, voted in opposition, leaving the final vote 3-1.

The livestock issue surfaced earlier this year when the city council revised its nuisance ordinance and inadvertently rescinded all standing restrictions on livestock.

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