LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — LaGrange County commissioners voted 3-0 Wednesday night to not pass an ordinance that would require horses to wear diapers.
The vote was the result of a petition drive launched by LaGrange County resident Chad Fry after he grew tired of driving his vehicles through manure. A few weeks ago the issue was brought to county commissioners to pass an ordinance requiring the horses to wear diapers, essentially bags to catch the manure. Dozens of people showed up to the meeting Wednesday night.
“Finally had decided that all investigation and everything what was out there, what was presented to me, wasn’t going to work so we decided to have this meeting and just go ahead and stop it because, in the opinion of some people, it was driving a wedge in our community,” commissioner Terry Martin said.
Martin said the main reason he voted against it was because it just wasn’t safe. He said he tried one of the ideas, but the bag, which weighed up to 40 pounds only half full, pulled on the horse’s harness and scared the horse. Enforcement is also another issue if the county decided to make an ordinance. He said he also did some research to see what other communities around the country are doing about the issue and found the answer is not much.
“Of all the counties I called there was no county that had a county ordinance,” Martin said. “Not to say that there aren’t small towns in there that had ordinances, but there was not county.”
The vote to not require the manure bags didn’t sit well with opponents.
“I feel they didn’t do it properly with this,” LaGrange County resident Jack Gaham said. “They don’t represent the people as a whole. All they do is represent the Amish.”
Martin said the last time the issue came up was about 20 years ago, and he’s still looking for an idea that might work.
“To say that somebody comes up with something later we’ll look at it again, but at this point what was presented to use wasn’t going to work,” Martin said.
Despite the vote to not create an ordinance, Gaham said the fight isn’t over to keep the streets clean.
“They need to remember that this will be brought up again and we’ll be more uniform in getting the right answers from our commissioners,” Gaham said.
Members of the Amish Northern Indiana Safety Commission were also at the meeting Wednesday to represent the Amish community. They said the manure bags weren’t safe, but some harness shops are working on other ideas that would take the weight and pressure off of the horse. They also said they are working on ideas to keep public areas clear of manure.