The residents of Covington have spoken, and as a result, city residents are no longer able to receive a permit to shoot squirrels or other rodents on their property.
Although the city council originally approved amending the city ordinance to allow for a rodent permit, Councilman Mike Whatley said the public outcry caused him to change his vote.
“I’ve gotten so many calls, there’s been so much publicity … so much negative response that I don’t think we need it,” Whatley said.
The majority of the council agreed, citing safety and liability concerns, and the ordinance was voted down by a 4 to 1 vote, with Councilman Keith Dalton voting to approve the ordinance and Councilman John Howard abstaining. The one-year permit would have cost $15, and allowed residents to shoot rodents causing problems on their property.
Although the city had given out permits for decades, Mayor Kim Carter and Mayor Pro Tem Hawnethia Williams said safety was an issue, because the city was more densely populated than it used to be.
“We don’t need it; it’s more of a liability than an asset,” Williams said.
Carter said if rodents are damaging people’s property they could call a professional pest company.
Dalton, who regularly shoots rodents and snakes on his property, said this was an example of excessive government regulation, and he said people should be allowed to use their common sense.
“If I have problems I don’t want to have to call a pest company. I’ve seen damage to older homes from rodents. I’ve had damage to my home from squirrels eating phone wires.
He said he also had a concern about safety, but suggested the ordinance be adjusted to not allow the use of .22 rifles, but only less-powerful guns. No matter what gun would have been used, special shells, like birdshot or ratshot, would have had to been used.
Howard declined to comment on why he abstained.