The city of Wadena is a step closer to amending ordinances to allow farm animals in certain parts of the city where these animals already exist or where because of sufficient space, there would be little animal/human conflict.

The Wadena City Council held the first reading for ordinance amendments for ordinance No. 235 and 236 during their regular council meeting Tuesday, March 9. One was related to changing the zoning districts and boundaries for areas on the outer edges of the city to A-1 agricultural districts from R-1, residential housing. The second amendment outlines the animals and fowl allowed as well as the keeping, transporting, treatment and housing for those animals.

In a previous Wadena Planning Commission meeting on March 2, 11 comments were heard and two members of the public attended. All were in favor of the amendments. Property owners of the parcels affected by this proposed amendment were contacted in person and were in support of the proposed changes, according to planning commission minutes.

Concerning the amendment in ordinance No. 236, this takes a closer look at the types of animals allowed in these districts. The amendment specifically points out up to 12 female chickens, up to one colony of honey bees, and up to two rabbits.

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Farm animals included in the description include: cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, ponies, ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, guinea hens, honey bees, and rabbits -- but specifically scratches swine from the list. Amounts of animals beyond chickens, bees and rabbits are not specifically listed and requests for further clarification from the city were not answered.

Related to treatment of animals, the ordinance states it is unlawful for any person to treat an animal in a cruel or inhumane manner. It is unlawful for any person to keep any animal in any structure infested by rodents, vermin, flies, or insects.

The planning commission recommended approval of these changes as presented. Council members shared no concerns about the changes during the meeting.

A second reading and council action is scheduled for April 13, 2021.