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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — A proposed ordinance that would rein in roaming fowl and other farm animals has made its way to the Town Council and the public, who weighed in on it Monday in a special work session.

“People would be prevented from having their animals leave their property,” Town Solicitor Michael Ursillo said.

It differs from similar ordinances in other communities that take measures such as limiting the number of animals or requiring enclosures, Ursillo said.

South Kingstown’s ordinance would allow an animal control officer to collect animals that wander off the owner’s property and onto public or private property.

The owner then would have to retrieve their animal and pay a cost, Ursillo said.

“The person who has lost control of their animal will be able to get a warning first,” he said. “The whole idea is we want the community to get an idea of where this is coming from, that there are animals straying away and causing damage. We just don’t want that to happen.”

Monday’s meeting is a precursor to official action the council can take. At the next regular council meeting, members would need to set a date for a public hearing on the ordinance.

The earliest that could happen is the first council meeting in February, on the 14th of the month.

Wakefield resident Annie Babineau told the council that loose animals are the norm at her home on a daily and weekly basis.

“Today, it was two goats belonging to our across-the-street neighbors,” Babineau said.

The animals run around her backyard, come onto the deck, jump onto rails and wander around the middle of Ministerial Road, blocking traffic for several minutes, she said.

“We have asked our neighbors repeatedly to please keep their animals on their own property,” she said. Past attempts to get in touch were met with silence.

Last week, the owner of the animals told Babineau he’s legally entitled to let his animals wander wherever they want, comparing them to cats.

“An ordinance wouldn’t be necessary if people behaved like good neighbors, respected others’ property, and took good care of their animals so they wouldn’t get loose and wander into the road and onto others’ lawns and gardens,” she said. “Sadly, that is not the case, at least, not in our neighborhood.”

Roberta Mulholland said while some wandering animals are a problem, she doesn’t want to see the ordinance burden farmers. She wants to see farms as defined in the town’s zoning ordinance exempt.

“Animals get out sometimes,” she said. Usually, farmers call other farmers or family to catch the escaped animal. She also doesn’t want to see a town animal control officer hurt by trying to contain a loose animal, especially livestock.

State Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski, (D-Dist. 37, New Shoreham, South Kingstown) operates a farm in town with her family.

“Over the years countless chickens turkeys, pheasants, peacocks … and others have been abandoned near our farm,” she said. “We’ve taken it upon ourselves over the years to corral these animals and find the owners.”

Only a couple people ever tried to reclaim their animals, she said.

“Sometimes it takes days, weeks or longer to try to capture these animals,” and she said she doesn’t want to see farmers pay a fine while trying to do so. Turkeys and other such animals can be difficult to catch, she said.

Sosnowski also wants to see a method of showing proof of ownership of loose animals so that owners can be notified if their backyard chicken or turkey has escaped.

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