Resident proposes animal ordinance change

James Aubry, a West Jefferson resident, stood before West Jefferson Village Council Monday to propose a change to the ordinance limiting the number of animals in a residence.

A West Jefferson resident is asking the village council to consider amending its zoning ordinance that limits how many dogs are allowed on a village property.

The ordiance, which states that anyone with three or more animals is in violation, was cited in the council’s decision to deny a zoning appeal from James and Michelena Aubry during council’s previous meeting.

The Aubrys own seven huskies in their West Jefferson home.

“I will read what I would like the ordinance to state,” James Aubry said.

Aubry suggested that the ordinance omit the limit of two or fewer animals, and digtinguish “farm animals” from “animals.”

“The federal definition of a farm animal does not include dogs,” Aubry added.

Council president Ron Garver said both the zoning board and council must agree on a change in the zoning policy. He acknowledged that the ordinance should be changed, but said there should be a limit on how many animals a resident can own.

“I’m not saying the ordiance dosen’t need to be changed. I think a lot of council, and a lot of people have said that it needs to be looked at. We’re all in agreement with you on that,” Garver said. “What’s the right number? That’s the problem. You’ve got to think of your neighbors.”

Council member Ray Martin agreed that there should be limits. He said the zoning board is working on rewrites, and that limits for dogs and cats should be included.

“There has to be a limit on all things,” he said.

Aubry also brought up other issues, including the claim that he was not properly notified of the appeal hearing at the last meeting.

The council is currently looking over Aubry’s amended changes.

Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.