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Ordinance prompted by cow carcass found in basement

JEFFERSON — The city of Jefferson doesn’t have an ordinance that deals with keeping livestock inside the city limits but that’s going to change, said Mayor Mike Myers.

The city council held a public hearing this week so councilors could hear from the public before deciding how to regulate small animals and chickens in Jefferson. The council also wanted to get ideas concerning what to do about the city’s growing wild turkey population.

The hearing was continued to the council’s next meeting on Jan. 24.

What probably will happen is large farm animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs won’t be allowed in town, Myers said. “And we’re looking at limiting the number of chickens and rabbits 4-H and FFA members can keep.”

The council is leaning toward requiring that 4-H and FFA members get a permit for their animals and birds. The city would issue placards to be put in members’ windows to indicate that the animals and birds were being raised legally.

The council must also figure out how to regulate the number of laying chickens residents can keep. There might be a ban placed on roosters because the city has received a lot of complaints about the noise they make, the mayor said.

Councilor Bob Ovendale said one reason the council needed to address the keeping of animals in town was because the carcass of a cow was found in the basement of a condemned house that was about to be torn down. Dead chickens were discovered in the attic.

Regarding the wild turkeys, the wetlands around Jefferson help attract the birds, Myers said. “They traipse around town and have become quite a nuisance.”

The council is considering having someone like a Marion County deputy periodically shoot some of the turkeys and take the dead birds to a processor to be packaged and the meat given to the needy.

There also was discussion at this week’s council meeting about how to pay for repairs needed at the historic Conser House, 128 N. Main St. The library takes up one side of the building and the council holds its meetings in the other.

Structural problems were identified in the house, which was built in the late 1840s, Myers said. The last estimate to stabilize the building was about $100,000.

“There’s nothing to indicate the building is about to fall down, but the weight of the books in the library is causing the floors to sag,” he said.

The council is looking at pursuing grants to pay for the work. The topic will come up again at the council’s February meeting.

Ovendale said the city would continue to own the house but it might lease it to the historical society.

Before Jefferson’s community center opened, receptions, along with community meetings and events, were held at the house.

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Cathy Ingalls is the city government reporter. She can be reached at cathy.ingalls@lee.net or at 541-812-6094.

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