North Judson Animal Ordinance Discussion Continues

During the North Judson Town Council meeting Monday evening, members confirmed that rather than adding an urban chicken ordinance, they will instead be amending the current animal ordinance to address the concerns brought before the council the last several meetings.

Prior to the meeting, council members received a working document from Town Attorney Justin Schramm. In the working document he provided place-holder numbers and language based off similar ordinances from other towns and cities in the surrounding area. He encouraged the council to let him know where they’d like to see changes or what else they’d like to cover in the ordinance.

Council member Jane-Ellen Felchuck listed a few things that she felt weren’t mentioned in the document provided such as the inclusion of rabbits and pigeons, as well as registration, restrictions on the number of pets, the potential of hiring an animal catcher and how the town responds to rabies, non immunized animals, dangerous animals and cat colonies. She also added that the matter of who is responsible for impoundment and where the animals are taken should be addressed.

Schramm commented that some of the matters Felchuck is concerned about, such as rabies and immunization are actually addressed in state law so it would not need to be included in the ordinance. However, he added that proof of rabies shots and immunization can be required as a part of the ordinance in order to ensure registered pets are sufficiently protected. Felchuck said she worries too many people won’t know about the state laws and feels these matters must be addressed in the ordinance.

Schramm also provided a recommendation of how to go forward with efficient registration techniques.

“I think there should be a separate permit form. I know the city of South Bend does that, where instead of putting it in the ordinance, there’s just a separate permit form where you list the type of fowl you have, for example.” Schramm stated, “That should probably be separate because that’s a good way to tag and identify your animals rather than try to make it exhaustive in the ordinance.”

The council members also discussed matters related to lot size and the distance chicken enclosures would be required to be from a neighbor’s residence and property line. No definite decisions were reached during the council meeting but various council members are continuing personal research to ensure the amended ordinance will address issues expressed by the public during the course of this process.