While the intent of the meeting was to determine what needs to be changed or added to the ordinance, the focus quickly turned to a disagreement between neighbors.
Brazil resident Larry Witty claimed there is an issue with fowl smells and "sludgy" runoff coming from his neighbor's property into his backyard.
"They have a bunch of animals that are fed and defecate near a barn close to our fence," Witty said while providing the council photos he took of the area. "During this winter, whenever it has rained or snow was melting, the urine and feces gets into the runoff and comes into our yard."
Witty added he also had issues with chickens and peacocks flying into his yard.
Trey Adams, Witty's neighbor, confirmed the barn was near the fence, but claimed the waterway has been that quality ever since he and his family moved onto the property approximately 12 years ago.
"The animals do eat right up by the barn, and I will gladly change the location if it is needed," he said. "Right now, I am waiting for the weather to clear up so I can clean up the area, and possibly move the barn."
Adams, who has approximately 10 acres of land and was annexed into the city limits in late 2009, added he is aware of the chickens and peacocks crossing over the fence and said if it continues to be a problem, he will get rid of the peacocks.
However, Witty claimed the runoff was creating a potential health hazard to which the council and a member of the audience suggested contacting the health department to run tests.
"He is entitled to his own opinion," Adams said. "But in this situation, I disagree with his claims."
Meanwhile, the council heard a request to set a date in which the current ordinance will be enforced.
"I'm aware we're not going to solve all the problems tonight, but I just feel we need to set a date in which we hold violators accountable," Brazil resident Bell Killion said.
She told the council about her situation where her neighbor owns a horse on a typical city lot without providing adequate shelter as the horse does not fit completely within the makeshift shelter that had been up until the ice storm hit.
"We need to make them clean it up, be responsible and make things acceptable for their neighbors who deserve to live a quality life as well," Killion told the council.
Another resident inquired about if a maximum amount was set on the number of chickens one could own.
Council member Brad Deal said he was looking at setting the number at 10, with only one of which could be a rooster.
Brazil City Fire Chief Jim Smith said the number may need to be 25 as many feed stores are offering that amount of chickens with the purchase of feed.
"Most places, you can't purchase less than 25 hatchlings at one time, regardless of breed," Smith said. "However, the ones the feed stores are offering are considered high-breed and are meant to be butchered within 6-10 weeks.
In response to questions about the potential fines, Deal said he would like to see some sort of graduated scale.
"Most people will learn their lesson after the first fine, but you have others who have no problem repeating their behavior if the fines don't really hit them too much," he said. "In my mind, we should set it at $50 for the first offense, $100 on the second, and on the third and subsequent offenses, fine them $500, which I think would make the message sink in."
Brazil resident Jasen Gibbens told the council in order to adequately enforce the ordinance, the city would need an officer specifically for that duty, but the funding for the position is not available. He added the council should also consider the effects on "grandfathering" properties should the city continue annexation.
Council member Steve Lamb said he would like to find out a clear grandfather definition when it comes to animals.
"I have seen instances where the clause lasts until the animal dies, and others that specify it is dropped when the property is torn down," Lamb said. "I just want to find the actual definition in this case because we can set it stronger than state law, we just can't go less."
Mayor Ann Bradshaw said she and the council will take the information gathered from Wednesday's and previous meetings about the animal ordinance to the city attorney to start drafting an updated version.
"We need to start getting something set because I don't want this to continue going on and on," Bradshaw said. "While we can not approve anything tonight with this being a work session, hopefully we can have something to be presented for potential passage at the April or May council meeting."
The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil is 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in the Council Chambers at City Hall.