A law preventing the feeding of strays will appear on Barberton City Council’s agenda Monday night following three months of discussion and several draft revisions.
“We are presenting this ordinance following requests from Summit County Health Department due to citizens’ complaints from many sections of our city,” council member Carol Frey said.
The animal feed nuisance prevention ordinance has been ongoing since September 4. The ordinance prohibits leaving food unattended at night for strays and wild animals in open or enclosed areas, stating that it subsequently creates odors and unsanitary conditions.
Residents can feed during the day, but food must be removed before dark. Violation of the ordinance is a $50 fine.
Barberton resident Nancy Somereck, along with several others, has worked vigilantly against the ordinance with concerns regarding animal abuse and contradictions within the ordinance.
“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 a fine,” Somereck said.
She said she believes the situation should be used as an educational opportunity rather than a punitive one.
Changes were made to the ordinance based on these concerns.
“We changed the fines that we had originally proposed 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.
Council has gathered information from veterinarians, experts in the field, animal rescue organizations and talked to Summit County regarding the issue.
This is the fourth time the legislation has been brought up, appearing in 2006, 2007 and 2010, all of which were withdrawn unanimously.