Aiken City leaders okay city code amendment for wildlife culls

CSRA News

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — A controversial city amendment is now a law. During Monday’s city council meeting, many residents gathered in the council chambers eager to hear their leaders’ final decision to shoot and kill wildlife within city limits.

“We need this, and this neighborhood is bringing it to our attention,” explained Mayor Rick Osbon. “Wildlife population is done all over our state.”

Mayor Osbon told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, the new ordinance is much stricter than the previous one. Permittees must pay an application fee to the city. All wildlife management and permittees are required to have a minimum of $2 million of liability insurance with the city named as an additional insured.

“There is a wildlife plan that has to be in place, submitted and approved by a wildlife biologist,” said Osbon. “There has to be a wildlife biologist on sight.”

The new ordinance also states permittees must use sharpshooters with a minimum of two years of sharpshooting experience.

“There will be preapproved shooting lanes that are the proper distance from any resident’s houses,” explained Osbon. “Also, we are specifying that they are shooting down so the shot won’t go anywhere but into the ground.”

Council members say this is not a Woodside neighborhood ordinance; it will apply to the entire city.

“This will help relax you some through your travel in and out of the community,” said Councilwoman, Lessie Price.

Other leaders believe the ordinance will be the first step in opening an avenue of wildlife management.

“A justification plan is one of the many stipulations that whoever is pursuing this avenue has to provide,” said Councilwoman, Andrea Gregory.

Mayor Osbon adds residents’ safety will be a major priority. The permittee’s contractors shall only conduct shooting operations at times determined by the city’s certified wildlife manager using suppressed rifles.

Photojournalist: Will Baker

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