Our View: Herd on the street
Ashland prides itself on its tolerance for those out of the mainstream in dress, behavior and beliefs, and that's a good thing — to a point. A local man who fancies himself an urban shepherd went beyond that point, and now he's facing the consequences.
Aaron Fletcher has been a local fixture for some time as he strolls through town accompanied by goats or, more recently, sheep. This is not necessarily a problem, but sheep and goats, being animals, do produce waste that must be disposed of.
After receiving complaints that Fletcher was hanging out in town and disposing of his sheep's feces improperly, police cited him for violating Ashland's Keeping of Animals ordinance. He was found guilty in municipal court and fined. He faces a second trial next week for keeping animals improperly and for "Scattering Rubbish" — to wit, sheep droppings.
Tolerance is a wonderful thing, but there are reasons why livestock are not generally found in urban environments. Fletcher seems to think he should be able to wander the streets with farm animals without worrying about what they leave behind.
If dog owners can be cited for not picking up after their pets, surely "urban shepherds" should be held to the same standard. Fletcher needs to obey the law and clean up after his charges. If he's unwilling to do that, he'll need to figure out a way to pay the fines that will continue to come his way, or find a new home for his animals.