Dogs in at Farm Market, fowl out for downtown

Dogs—on leash—are welcome back to the Rockford Farm Market after a Rockford City Council decision on Monday, April 12. An ordinance allowing domestic fowl was defeated during the same meeting.

Council members were in disagreement over both issues, and voted three to two on each topic. Brien Dews, newest council member, introduced the Farm Market application, which was filled out by the City without asking for dogs to be banned this year.

“It was submitted allowing dogs and I support it,” said Dews.Steve Jazwiec, mayor pro-tem, said he also approved the application as-is. He said the application has a line asking if dogs are prohibited and the word “no” is filled in.

A survey of vendors was conducted by City Community Development Director Jody Greco, at Dews’ request. Of 21 vendors, six responded, three in favor of allowing dogs, two against and one neutral.

“This tells me that of 21 vendors, only six thought this was enough of an issue to respond,” said Dews. He also pointed out that Rockford markets itself as a town for strolling and walking. “Most people out on the trail are there with their dogs,” he said.

Voting against allowing dogs was Mayor Chi Chi Rogers and Mary Eadie.

“I wouldn’t want to take the chance of a child being bitten,” said Rogers.

Dews responded, saying that there are dogs all over Rockford and at different events and there has never been a biting. Jazwiec pointed out that the dog ban began in response to just one incident in which a dog defecated at the market and the owner refused to clean up after it.

“It passes, much to my dismay,” Rogers said after the vote.

In the fowl ordinance, which has been under consideration for months, a split vote also ended the topic. Voting against allowing a limit of four hens for families living in the City of Rockford were Mary Eadie, Chi Chi Rogers and Rich Moll. Voting for were Steve Jazwiec and Brien Dews.

Also at the meeting the council was addressed by Ron Riebschleger, landlord of a Bridge Street property with six tenants. He accused the City of harassing him and his tenants. He said all of his tenants have been accused of City code violations.

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