LAGRANGE, Ind. (AP) – A push by residents in a northeastern Indiana county who want to eliminate horse manure in parking lots and roadways is facing opposition from its large community of Amish residents.
LaGrange County resident Chad Fry said he has obtained more than 1,600 signatures on a petition asking county officials to require manure bags on horses because the waste left behind by the Amish’s horses poses traffic hazards and health concerns.
“We all share the roads …,” he said. “It’s about cleaner roads, cleaner towns, a cleaner county.”
The Shipshewana and Topeka town councils have each approved resolutions supporting a county-wide requirement, The Goshen News and The (Kendallville) News Sun reported.
Some 14,000 Amish make up nearly 40 percent of the population in the rural county along the Indiana-Michigan state line, according to Indiana University researchers.
More than 100 Amish residents attended an Oct. 5 county commissioners meeting in a show of opposition to the manure bag requirement.
Amish Bishop Atlee Miller of Topeka said many worry the bags could bounce against the horses like a whip and make them uncontrollable. Miller said he’s willing to work with a committee of Amish and non-Amish residents on the matter.
“We understand it’s a problem, and we want to look at it in a fair way,” Miller said.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Amish-related tourist attractions in Shipshewana each year and community leaders receive few complaints about manure problems, said Ryan Riegsecker, a Shipshewana businessman and former LaGrange County Council member.
“We hear everything from those visitors, and this ranks dead last,” he said.
County Commissioner Terry Martin said he is frustrated that no Amish residents have been willing to test out the manure bags with their horses.
“Everyone tells me it’s not safe, but I don’t know if it’s safe or not because nobody wants to try it,” he said.