SYRACUSE -- It is still legal to raise and butcher a chicken or cow in certain parts of this community.
City leaders put the finishing touches on a revised land-use ordinance, in regard to animals, on Tuesday and approved a guideline for animal harvesting as part of the revision, plus finalized language that will allow residents to have cats without having to license them.
Final details of the animal provisions, months in the works, were discussed in a work session, then finalized by a unanimous vote in the regular council meeting.
The harvesting regulation, which came at the behest of Councilwoman Karianne Lisonbee, allows the harvesting of livestock and noncommercial slaughter of animals in residential and agricultural zones of the city.
The process must be done in the rear yard or lot of the property, or in an enclosed building where the process is not visible from the street or neighboring properties.
The regulation also cites the need to use accepted animal husbandry and customary farming practices in the process.
The new guideline also references state code for additional laws regulating animal cruelty, instead of relying on the county's animal-control ordinance alone.
Lisonbee, a first-term councilwoman, worried that if a city ordinance does not address a specific issue, then the county ordinance is used as a reference if it addresses the issue.
She says the county ordinance contains language that exposes residents engaged in animal husbandry to potential risk for charges of animal cruelty.
She and her husband raise animals on their property.
Council newcomer Councilman Craig Johnson helped push guidelines for cat ownership in the city away from a required licensing fee. Dogs will still need a license, but cats will not.
Johnson also pushed for language that did not require cat owners to get a conditional-use permit if they have more than cats.
Councilman Brian Duncan also pushed successfully before a final vote to remove cats from a requirement that has dogs, fowl or other small animals in some residential zones kept in a cage.
The proposed guidelines actually relax the city's existing point system to determine permitted animal uses, depending on the size of the property.
For example, a large animal, like a cow or horse, is assigned 20 points and requires a large plot of property, while pigeons are assigned two points and are permissible on smaller lots, along with rabbits or chickens.
Farm-size animals are only allowed in A-1 and R-1 zones, which are larger lots.
Service animals, like a guide or signal dog, are exempt in the newly approved ordinance.