BARBERTON, Ohio - The city of Barberton is considering an ordinance that would make it a minor misdemeanor to leave unattended animal food outdoors after it gets dark.
City council will vote on the proposed legislation which, if passed, would be punishable by a $50 fine.
Councilwoman Carol Frey said residents have complained that people who leave animal food outside for strays or pets often wind up attracting rodents that leave behind dropping and destroy gardens.
"We are trying to deter drawing in skunks, possums, rats and undesirable animals to the area," Frey said.
City residents would be prohibited from leaving animal feed/pet food in open garages, tool sheds and open porches. However, food may be left out during daylight hours, provided that the feeding area is cleaned up each day.
Dr. Nancy Somerick, who lives in Barberton, is fighting the ordinance and believes it could place pet owners in a pickle.
"If you don't put a bowl of food down for the outside cat or dog when it's dark, then the dog or cat's health could suffer, and you could be in violation of the Ohio revised code," Somerick said.
Frey said domestic animals kept in enclosed yard pens would be allowed to have food left unattended for more than 8 hours. In such instances, only enough food to feed the number of animals in the pen would be permitted.
She said the proposal is not meant to punish pet owners. Instead, Frey explained it would keep away strays and wild animals which create bad odors and encourage the transmission or rabies and other animal diseases.
"If it's your pet, it's not a loved pet if you can't even make some accommodations to bring it in to feed it," Frey said.
Council will vote on the animal feed nuisance prevention ordinance Monday at 7:30 p.m.
Somerick plans to attend the meeting and argue for something other than a punitive measure.
"I think there should be a humane education program, which I am trying to establish in Barberton," Somerick said.