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Salineville animal ordinance needs more consideration

SALINEVILLE — Some changes to the ordinance regulating animals will be requested following a meeting Tuesday of the Salineville committee currently working on the ordinance.

After some debate, the three council members — President Sally Keating, Jim Wilson and Nancy Needham — decided to ask Solicitor Andy Beech to put in a grandfather clause so that all the animals currently living within the village can remain.

However, residents will be asked to fill out a form and provide proof of how many animals they have, so that those animals in excess of the law’s limits cannot be replaced.

The current law limits a household to three dogs and no cats.

Additionally, the council members want to add the wording “large farm animals” to the part of the ordinance that insists on an acre per animal. At that point two chickens would not require two acres, but two horses would.

At one point early in the discussion, Keating challenged Judith Nickalo, a resident who was attending, about things she had seen posted online. Keating said Nickalo had made it personal and the comments generated on “the idiot box” were harassing. She especially took offense to something she saw that indicated Nickalo had told a grandchild Keating was going to kill her horses.

Keating asked Nickalo how her neighbors felt about her having horses on her property in town and Nickalo responded most are fine with it and only one seems to have a problem with it.

“It doesn’t fit in with what she wants done in her ‘hood,” Nickalo said of her neighbor.

Another resident, Linda Beadnell, who was formerly a mayor and on council, said she understood what council was trying to do with the ordinance and she is in favor of anything that helps the animals. But she felt limiting the number of dogs, as long as they are well cared for, is strictly arbitrary. She was in favor of grandfathering the animals to prevent a resident who loves their six dogs from having to choose which ones will have to find new homes.

“Chances are if someone hadn’t complained, (Police Chief) Matt (Devlin) wouldn’t have gone door to door banging to try to find them,” Keating said.

However, Beadnell said the ordinance needs to be evenly enforced against all the residents of Salineville.

“You can’t have people living in fear,” Beadnell said, adding if your neighbor becomes angry with you about something then people would be turning each other in for their animals.

“We’ve beat this thing to death,” Keating said in frustration. “This town looks like a third world country now. I don’t (care), I’m done.”

Beadnell said it is the old buildings that are causing it to look bad and suggested enforcing the laws regarding upkeep of structures instead of the animals in town. This led to a discussion about different things council has done in the past to enforce housing laws and some ideas for pursuing it more in the future.

The proposed changes to the animal ordinance will be given to Beech. The animal ordinance passed earlier this fall by council goes into effect the first of the year. The next meeting of council is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 16.

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