“I felt like last week we got some persuasive discussion concerning goats, and I don’t know why goats are lumped in with pigs,” James said. “... Having the ability to have a goat for milk and other things, especially for those who were described last week as having lactose intolerance, that makes sense to me ... I just think goats aren’t nearly the nuisance that pigs would be.”
James also said he thought having a less restrictive ordinance would keep Wilmore in touch with the surrounding agricultural area and allow residents to combat economic troubles by producing their own food.
“I think once we look at an economy that’s going to put pressure on people who are not able to buy everything that they get, we have to leave space for a Wilmore that’s a lot closer to the agrarian economy that we’re surrounded by,” James said. “Stand in the middle of town and drive a half mile in any direction and you’ll be in farm territory.”
The council members also talked about whether the goal of the ordinance was to prevent malnutrition and improper maintenance of animals or to deal with nuisances and how the animals affect neighbors.
Councilman Jim Brumfield said he hadn’t heard any complaints of animal malnutrition but that it seemed to be the focus of the proposed ordinance. He later added that he couldn’t even remember how talk of a livestock ordinance began but suggested that drafting legislation may not be necessary if the lines of communication opened up between neighbors.
“I don’t know, personally, if I’m in favor of an ordinance or not,” Brumfield said. “Someone suggested that we’re small enough that we can just go to our neighbor and say what we think — that may or may not be true, but if that’s the case, I would tell the lady with the chickens to put up a fence and not let her chickens roam in other people’s yards,” he said. “I would tell (Wilmore horse owner) Jerry Allender the same thing ... a horse looking in a window is not acceptable in any society, no matter how small or big ... once you get past about three spots in town, I don’t know that there’s any other issues.”
James spoke in agreement with Brumfield, saying it was important to keep Wilmore’s heritage and character.
“The more we legislate things into reality, the more we might legislate Wilmore into the past,” James said. “This is one of those things where we have to find the right line.”
Councilwoman Kim Deyer weighed both sides of the issue at the meeting, addressing protection of property values, safety and animal rights. Deyer said she’s not sure an ordinance is necessary but she does think the city needs some kind of boundaries for animal-owners.
“As far as safety issues, I would like to be sure an animal is not hurting another animal or a person,” she said. “And I think one of the equine girls from Asbury mentioned that it’s the best interest of the animal, and that kind of caught my ear.
“And one thing (horse owner Jamie) Fox said ... our sewer plant has odors, too, and that’s a reality, and that has to do with real estate as well.”
Rainwater urged the council to keep the entire community in mind when thinking about a livestock ordinance, saying the council’s job is to make decisions based on what would be the greatest good to the greatest number.