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Barberton council could outlaw feeding of stray animals

By Courtney Kerrigan
Special to the Beacon Journal

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BARBERTON: A law preventing the feeding of stray or wild animals will appear on the City Council’s agenda Monday night following three months of discussion and several draft revisions.

“We are presenting this ordinance following requests from the Summit County Health Department due to citizens’ complaints from many sections of our city,” council member Carol Frey said.

The nuisance-prevention ordinance has been in the works since Sept. 4. It would prohibit leaving food unattended at night for strays or wild animals in open or enclosed areas, stating that it subsequently creates odors and unsanitary conditions.

Residents could feed during the day, but food would need to be removed before dark. Violations would result in a $50 fine.

Barberton resident Nancy Somereck, along with several others, has worked vigilantly against the ordinance, citing concerns regarding animal abuse and contradictions within the ordinance itself.

“If a person has a job when it’s dark, that Barberton resident cannot put a bowl of food down according to the way this is written without being charged with a crime or [facing] a fine,” Somereck said.

She said the situation should be used as an educational opportunity rather than a punitive one.

Frey said some changes were made to the ordinance based on those concerns.

“We changed the fines that we had originally proposed [from] a $100 fine to $50, and we are going to take out the sentence about feeding strays for over seven days constitutes ownership of the stray animals, because that is basically covered in the development codes for Barberton,” Frey said.

The council gathered information from veterinarians, experts in the field, animal rescue organizations and talked to Summit County officials regarding the issue.

This is the fourth time such legislation has been proposed. Previous attempts in 2006, 2007 and 2010 were withdrawn unanimously.

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