PA Township Seeks Horse Diapers, Rubber Horseshoes, & 4-Side-Numbering For Amish Buggies

Lycoming County, PA’s Washington Township wants local Amish buggies and their horses to change – in a pretty big way. From

ELIMSPORT – “Blatant discrimination” is what an attorney for Old Order Amish says about proposed ordinances in a rural Lycoming County township that would require horses on public roads to wear a device to collect feces and to have rubber horseshoes.

A third ordinance the Washington Twp. supervisors plan to consider Monday evening would require the registration of all equine-pulled carriages, buggies or carts operating on township or state highways.

The supervisors say they need to have them registered so the other two ordinances can be enforced.

The registration ordinance requires the placement of reflective numbers at least four inches in size on the front, back and each side of carriages, buggies and carts so they can be identified easily.

The ordinance does not set a fee but gives the supervisors authority to set one “from time to time.” There is no mention if it would be a single or annual registration.

Complaints over manure and the alleged public safety and health concerns are the reasons given for the diaper idea.

Road damage, which is a real issue, is the reason for the rubber horsehoes. Authorities note that this can create a safety hazard, particularly for motorcycles.

Here are the proposed charges for violations:

Fines for violating any of the ordinances would range from $100 to $1,000 for the offense. The minimum fine for a second offense would be $500.

An attorney representing the Amish calls this an “absurd and outrageous proposition” and that the civil rights of the Amish are being violated. He says the Amish are open to working with officials.

When I see these kinds of proposals come up, the first thing I think is that the local Amish and local authorities probably have a poor-to-nonexistent working relationship. I seriously doubt there is good, or much any, communication between the sides there.

There are 2 Amish communities lying at least partially in Lycoming County. I’m not sure which is involved here, but this is not a case of newcomer Amish clashing with the ways of a place that’s never seen buggies on local roads. On the contrary, both settlements have been in the area for several decades.

Amish horses leave manure on the roads in 500+ other communities across North America. The vast majority of Amish horseshoes wear standard metal horseshoes. And most buggies, outside Indiana, have no type of registration numbering – much less on all four sides of the buggy (which seems a rather ridiculous standard – double what even the most stringent states require of cars).

Amish in those other places for the most part get along with their local communities, via their own efforts or other arrangements. Perhaps they pay a voluntary fee to help maintain the roads, for instance.

So when I see this, I wonder, why aren’t these two sides getting along to where they can work this out without new laws being needed?

You don’t see these legal steps taken in the vast majority of other Amish communities. In many cases it is often the opposite, where locals welcome and accommodate the Amish, happy to have their contributions to the economic and cultural life of an area.

I’m not saying it’s necessarily one side’s fault over the other (the Amish in this case may have been uncooperative up til now, for whatever reason…or local prejudice might be driving some of the complaints).

There is a story behind this story, I suspect.

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    1. Linda Brackett

      I’m sorry that sounds like the township is just wanting to get money out of Amish. Not about roads or anything else, and horse poop is not a health hazard, its organic. Sounds like they are punishing Amish for being different. Some on you all!!

      1. Yes that caught my eye – I didn’t really know that manure was considered a big health hazard…seems like oil and antifreeze and other things that leak from cars would be considered hazardous before manure.

    2. Noach Shon


      are other farm trailers, implements pulled down roads by tractors or pick-ups required to have identification ? if not then simple harassment.

      1. Linda Gail Brackett

        I agree sounds like harrassment. Shame on them all!!

    3. Louis Brumaghim


      Must have a new member or members on the board that are coming up with some of these ridiculous ideas! Let those with the idea of 4 inch letters do the same with their car and see what they think?
      A lot of times these same complainers throw trash, cigarette butts out their cars when going down the road or let.their dog when out walking poop all over and never clean up after them. I always remember that people living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Just saying!

      1. I’d heard of places wanting horse diapers before, and also rubber horseshoes…but have never seen the idea of having buggies numbered on all four sides. Seems a bit absurd, and possibly spiteful.

    4. Ingrid Miller


      The township should be ashamed. I’ll be telling my Amish friends how much I appreciate them as neighbors today!!

    5. Crazy Politicians in Lycoming County, Penna.

      Having lived, and worked, in Lycoming County Penna. for a number of years, and personally knowing a number of the Amish families in the Elimsport, Penna. area, I say the politicians trying to implement these laws are crazy.

      Just another money grab to fund some pet project(s) of the politicians.

      Going to see if I can discover any of the story, behind the story, from some of the Amish I know in the area.

      Should I discover further details, will post here.

      Would be interested to hear what others have to say about these proposed laws for the Amish in the Elimsport, Panna. area.

      Thank you.

      1. Lisa Maikranz


        Perhaps locals need to start calling their local government! Can’t wait to hear what you find out!

    6. Will Grimes

      Not Legal

      The only thing they should require is a flashing light. It is for their own safety and could save lives. The rest is not legal unless the whole state passes it in the state senate.

    7. Lisa Maikranz


      Isn’t this crossing the line of freedom of religion? This is their way of life per their religion. It would be an issue with the Amish who shoe horses. Cars cause just as much damage to roads ~. This town should be proud to have such peace loving people in their community!
      Tractors don’t have to be registered and don’t you need a title to register a vehicle? Looks like a county needs funds for something and think the Amish won’t fight back!

    8. Dave

      It is discriminatory

      Welcome to the people’s republic of Lycoming County.

    9. Just a Matter of Time, I Guess

      Living in the modern day of age of too much of secular society increasingly viewing all things Christian as “bad” I’ve often wondered when and how they’d get around to harassing the Amish.

      They’ve sunk pretty low on this one. Horse diapers?

      Did they actually ask for that with a straight face, I wonder?


    10. Lycoming County

      What an utter shame that the English on the County Board can’t live in harmony like those before them have for generations. Why start harassing the Amish now? Could it be that some of the Board members are being pressured to promulgate and pass fatuous laws aimed solely at the Amish to become so addled and perplexed that they might think of selling their prime land and move elsewhere so some rich English can take over their land? If the Amish in the particular area in question have gotten along with the English, literally, for decades, what is now driving the Board members to begin harassing the Amish now?

      I hope that some English with Amish friends contact their Congress(wo)men to get to the bottom of this dilemma. The whole thing has a fishy odor, to me!

      1. Killing of an Amish pet in Lycoming County in 2014

        You mention harrassment, and why this might be coming up now, after Amish have been there decades…I came across a 2014 story about 3 Lycoming County teens killing an Amish family’s pet donkey by shooting it 18 times:

        It looks like the same area. Just one, albeit awful, story. But this type of behavior might be an indicator of some local feeling towards the Amish that predates this latest story. Assuming of course, that these were not renegade Amish teens. But there’s no indication in the story of that.

        1. Red Sampsell

          Amish and my community

          For me, this is a lot to do about nothing. While some of what is posted may be true, in my opinion the Amish give back to the community as much as they take. While it is true they may do some damage to the local roads so do heavy trucks and studded tires. The township saves money on mowing as the Amish in 99 percent of cases trim their own road frontage. The only thing I agree on is the manure on the road. I am old and no longer give a s**t [ pun intended] if it gets on my truck. But there are people who take pride in their cars and they are not cheap. So to there is no reason the Amish could not pull over and move the manure off the road. As for the donkey that was shot it had nothing to do with the people being Amish. I know one of the kids and they just really screwed up and he regrets it. I have Amish neighbors and am proud to call them my friends.

    11. About time ! This is not discrimination . We pay ro

      About time ! This is not discrimination . We pay road taxes ,fuel taxes , vehicle inspections . We have to abide by certain rules with our vehicles . Why should they be any different ! To many hide behind there religion to do as the please . Not saying there not good people but to many people only see what they are supposed to see . Think I don’t know what I’m talking about ? Well I’m ex Amish ! Way to much covered up and far to many deceptions for me . Cant be like that !

      1. Jerry


        Electric automobiles currently (pun intended) do not pay for highway use as fuel is taxed and not electricity.

        Horse manure in the road is an excellent indicator an Amish buggy might be just ahead. I have learned the nuances and can tell where the buggy might be. So it’s a safety thing to protect me and the buggy.

        I haven’t visited this area but since it borders Union county I suspect they are Nebraska white toppers. I hope to drop by in the next couple of weeks and check it out for myself.

        1. Road manure as a safety indicator

          That’s a point I never thought of, Jerry. Fresh manure could indicate a buggy just over the hill.

          This article lists a settlement in Lycoming County is a Lancaster sister settlement:

          However there are 2 communities there, maybe the other is a white-topper settlement. If you do visit, would be happy to hear more.

    12. Az gal


      Leave the Amish alone!

    13. J

      Lycoming is wrong.

      Yes. That is discrimination.

      Numbers on all four sides of a buggy but not on the cars driven?
      Yeah, that one is absurd.

      What’s next? Bicycles will have to be registered and numbered on all 4 sides?

      As for horse droppings,…seriously? All the dangers of the automobile, and they are spending time on this? Get your priorities in order. The car and driver are far more dangerous than horse droppings. Pay more attention to that.

      Drive thru Philly on I-95 and look at all the trash that ends up on the road. Beds. Chairs. Large trash bags, and more. And none of that is from the Amish.

      Also, the part about the supervisors demanding the Amish pay a fee from ‘time to time.’ So they can have the power to charge the Amish whenever they choose? Yes. That is clear discrimination as it targets a specific group and religion.

      Remember, the road is for multiple forms of transportation.

      Bicycles(no motor) are allowed on the road.

      Car drivers must yeild the right of way to pedestrians crossing an intersection, even if it is not marked. In fact, even if the pedestrian is on the sidewalk, the driver must still yeild to the person walking.

      People are allowed to walk on the road if no sidewalk or shoulder is available.

      The point is, the roads must be shared and are not owned by car drivers.

      Very disturbing to see so many people not know this…I read some comments speaking negatively towards the Amish in the article that was linked in this story. Disturbing.

    14. Hillclimber

      Buggy Rules

      As more Amish continue to colonize our area there is a corresponding increase of horse $hit on the roads and parking lots. I personally don’t enjoy dodging the piles, especially while on my motorcycle. When I haul manure from my farm I have always been considerate of my neighbors and made sure not to spill and if I did I would clean it up. I remember several complaints over the years regarding spills being reported to the sheriff who would ask dairy farmers to police up their spills on public roads. Now, with the arrival of more Amish, we have a double standard.

    15. F.C.

      Some History

      About one hundred years ago the question came up about what car owners should do about the exhaust for their cars. The conclusion was that they need do nothing about that, since the owners of horses were not required to do anything about horse apples either.
      Maybe there needs to be a parallel ordinance effective at the same time, applicable to car exhaust (to be dispersed into the passenger compartment of the car, for example)long with similar numbering requirements for cars.

    16. Richard Holmes

      Crazy Politicians in Lycoming County, Penna. Part II

      OK folks. Here it is, part two of the Amish saga in Lycoming County, Penna.

      The link is to a story in the ‘Williamsport Sun Gazette.’

      The title for the story is; ‘Amish communities speak out against proposed ordinance.’

      There is an opportunity to comment on the situation / article, at the end of the story.

    17. Richard Holmes

      Crazy Politicians in Lycoming County, Penna. Part III.

      Here is a link to a WNEP TV, Channel 16, story where the township meeting on these issues is covered by a reporter.

      It is about a two (2) minute long segment.

      1. Richard Holmes

        Crazy Politicians in Lycoming County, Penna. Part III Revised.

        My apologies. Wrong website / link listed.

        The correct website link is;

        This link will take you to the WNEP TV, Channel 16 story on the township meeting.

        Thank you.

    18. Rita

      You obviously don’t live around the a ish