Jackson council introduces ordinance calling for humane treatment of animals

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JACKSON – The Jackson Township Council will hold a public hearing on Nov. 12 on an ordinance that calls for the humane and ethical treatment of animals in the community. Council members may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

On Oct. 29, council Vice President Barry Calogero, Councilman Alex Sauickie, Councilman Andrew Kern and Councilman Ken Bressi voted to introduce the ordinance.

Council President Robert Nixon was absent.

The ordinance amends the chapter of the municipal code entitled “Animals” by adding an article entitled “Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment.”

Sauickie said he was proud to co-sponsor the ordinance with Calogero.

“This ordinance was drafted in recognition of the unique environmental conditions in Jackson that foster the habitats of an abundance of animal species, including many which are endangered. Our animal population is vast and diverse and these animals, both domestic and wild, deserve protection,” Sauickie said.

Sauicke said the goal of the ordinance is to provide protection for animals at a local level.

“Given the numerous examples that have been reported over the years of cruelty to animals throughout the state and the lack of enforcement, it was our goal to provide measures at the local level to protect this population.

“We believe enforcement against these acts of cruelty in surrounding towns was inadequate because (other towns) had nothing on the books to deal with (acts of cruelty) at the municipal level … this ordinance gives our local police officers and code enforcement department, which are second to none, the power to enforce these protections and bring those who break them to justice,” the councilman said.

The ordinance protects hunts that are mandated and administered by the state.

“What a hunter could do before, he or she can continue to do within the guidelines of state rules and regulations. There is also clear language that continues to recognize exemptions from enforcement for religious activities that are protected by federal law,” Sauickie said.

“These activities must be practiced according to the defined procedures within the respective religions and within the privacy of their home or religious institution. Anything to the contrary … would be in direct violation of this ordinance, and any individual group breaking this law would face the consequences outlined within (the ordinance),” he said.

Sauickie said the proposed ordinance is another example of what the council members will continue to fight for, as they set the example for the prevention of animal cruelty.

“This 2019 council, many of us who are lifelong residents of Jackson, continues to fight for the quality of life of all residents, for upgraded parks for our children, for lessening burdens on our seniors, for the Second Amendment, for the preservation of land … and most notably for the freedom of speech when pressured to do otherwise.

“Along with those, tonight we fight for our town’s unique environment and for the other living creatures in our community. I look forward to seeing this (ordinance) become part of our code and to having Jackson set the example for the prevention of animal cruelty,” Sauickie said.

The ordinance states that “whomever violates any section of this chapter for which no penalty is otherwise provided and upon conviction … shall be fined not more than $500 for each offense, imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both, in the discretion of the court.”