February 04, 2023

City council issues municipal infraction for mini pigs

Osceola City Council met for a regular meeting on Dec. 20, where the denial of an extension for mini pigs in Osceola was discussed, as was the passing of the second reading of the proposed change to the animal ordinance.

Mini pigs

The presence of 10 mini pigs at 525 South Lincoln Street in Osceola was first brought to the council’s attention at the June 7 meeting.

At that time, it was decided to grant the owner six months to re-home the pigs while the council looked into the possibility of amending or adding an ordinance to allow mini pigs in city limits. Osceola ordinances do not permit livestock in town, as found in chapter 55, section 5.

A proposed ordinance was presented to council in July, with wording that would allow only three types of mini pigs - potbellies, Julianas, and American mini pigs - to be permitted with a limit of three per residence; possible exceptions could be made for numbers over three on a case by case basis.

The first reading of the proposed ordinance was passed 4-1 Aug. 16. Dr. George Fotiadis nay, however the second reading on Sept. 6 failed to carry with four nay votes Tom Bahls was absent.

The owner’s six month time frame expired on Dec. 7; they submitted a letter to city hall requesting an extension in their efforts to re-home the pigs.

Mayor Thomas Kedley reminded the council of the ordinance pertaining to housing of livestock in town, and recommended that council not grant an extension, instead moving forward to issue an infraction against the homeowners.

The motion to issue a municipal infraction against the homeowners for not removing the mini pigs was passed 5-0.

Animal ordinance

The second reading of the proposed amendment to the animal ordinance passed 5-0.

City Administrator Ty Wheeler relayed that he had received a few questions about the permitting of animals above three, and how enforcement would be carried out. Wheeler said that he had not received any comment as to the potential future of a TNR program, or the prohibition of feeding of community cats. Kedley said that he had received an email from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, who were interested in working with the city should the TNR program move forward, as well as positive feedback from a volunteer of the Clarke County Animal Shelter about trying to mitigate the cat population.

The updated ordinances will read:

Number of animals

“No person shall harbor or maintain more than three domesticated-adult dogs and/or three domesticated-adult cats without first obtaining a permit from the City of Osceola. The permit applicant shall demonstrate that conditions for the animals’ wellbeing are not in violation of Chapter 55.02 of the City of Osceola Code of Ordinance, that no such conditions are present that would compromise public safety, and that no such conditions are present which would constitute a public nuisance pursuant to Chapter 50 of the City of Osceola Code of Ordinances...Any number of cats which are exclusively confined within a residential dwelling are exempt from permitting.”

The permit fee will be $25, to be renewed annually.

TNR program

“1. “Trap-Neuter-Return”- The City may, upon resolution, adopt a ‘Trap-Neuter-Return’ program, also known as ‘TNR’ program, for the humane management of free roaming cats. For the purposes of this ordinance, free roaming cats include any feral, stray or community cat which spends most of its time outdoors and where there is no claim of ownership.”

Feeding of community cats

A new, proposed section to Chapter 55 is one that would make it unlawful for a person to intentionally leave food out for the primary purpose of feeding stray, or community, cats. Doing so will create a nuisance condition where citations will be issued; the ordinance will not apply to people who feed their domesticated pets outside where a community cat may have incidental access.

Parking permits and public hearing

At the Dec. 6 city council meeting, Kim Jackson, owner of Timber Ridge Country Market at 117 West Washington Street, approached council to inquire about the possibility of an on-street parking permit for the rental space above her store. She intends to lease the space as a short-term rental, however, there is not accessible parking for guests behind the store.

As such, she wondered if the city could issue a permit that would allow the guests to park somewhere on the square overnight. Currently, no parking is permitted on the city square between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m. per Chapter 69, section 14, nor during snow ordinances. An amendment to the ordinance would read:

“5. The City Council may, upon receiving an application, issue a permit to authorize parking between the hours of 2:00 AM to 5:00 AM upon any street described herein. If a Snow Emergency pursuant to Chapter 69.12 is in effect, said permit shall be suspended until the street upon which the parking permit has been issued is fully open.”

A public hearing has been set for Jan. 3 for a proposed change to the ordinance that prohibits the parking in the downtown business district.

Next meeting

The next city council meeting is Jan. 3. Full minutes of the Dec. 20 meeting are available on osceolaia.net, or in the legal section of this newspaper.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.