MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 9, 2014

Wagoner reviews livestock ordinance

Neighbors cry foul after cattle brought to vacant land

WAGONER — Purchasing homes or property in Wagoner may come with new ordinances on animal regulations within city limits.

“We are looking to the future, to make our city a place people would want to move to,” said Mayor James Jennings.

Jennings appointed a committee to review the city animal ordinances and research other communities’ ordinances. City council members discussed the committee’s findings and plans for a possible change in the ordinances in a meeting last week.

“It’s my intention to inform the council on what we’ve been working on,” Jennings said.

Some residents find that the current ordinances are outdated. Linda Gaylor has lived at 1106 N.E. Ninth St. since 1978.

She said she has never had a problem with animals until recently.

“This all started about a year and a half ago,” Gaylor said.

To the southeast of Gaylor’s residence are several lots owned by Floyd Johnson. That property is surrounded by homes on all sides.

“They decided to put some cattle on it,” Gaylor said.

The cattle were not a welcoming sight or smell for the neighborhood, Gaylor said.

“One time, the cows got out and tromped through my flower beds,” she said.

Gaylor, her husband, and several neighbors took the issue to the City Council.

“I don’t think the middle of the residential neighborhood is a place to have cows,” she said.

Gaylor, a former city clerk, said she knew the animal ordinances well and knew they were adopted back in the early 1900s.

According to the Wagoner Animal Regulation, Sec. 4-105. B, “It is unlawful for any person to keep maintain or suffer to be kept or maintained, any cow, horse, donkey, mule, pig, goat, sheep, goose, chicken, duck, turkey, guinea, or more than one rabbit upon any property or premises within the corporate limits of the City; except that one cow, horse, sheep, goat, donkey, or not more than 12 domestic fowl may be kept in any pen or enclosure for each multiple 7,000 square feet in area of the pen or enclosure which is detached from any dwelling house.”

In accordance with this provision, Johnson and his four head of cattle aren’t breaking any regulations.

Johnson’s mother, Beulah Johnson, lives at 1201 N.E. Eighth St., next to where the cattle are enclosed. She said she had been there since the ’60s.

“I’ve been here since this was an old farm,” she said.

Jennings said the current provisions are based on the number of animals and the amount of property.

“It’s all based on square footage,” he said.

The City Council will continue to discuss the plans, but no changes have been issued.

“I wanted everybody to be on the same page,” Jennings said.

If any changes are made to the ordinances, it will only affect new purchases of property and homes.

“Homeowners that currently own property and have an animal inside city limits will be grandfathered in,” Jennings said.

“If the council approves, it will be for future homeowners,” he said.

Gaylor said the issue is controversial but needs to be addressed.

“I understand both sides of the issue, but we don’t need to be living by ordinances from the early 1900s.”

Jennings called a special meeting for today to discuss two items. One of the agenda items is animal ordinances. The meeting is open to the public.

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or ehillin@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: Wagoner City Council special meeting.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today.

WHERE: City offices, 231 Church St.

INFORMATION: (918) 485-4586.

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