Foxtail barley will not be added to noxious weed list

PERRYSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture has denied the city’s request to add foxtail barley to the noxious weed list.

Several residents have said they believe that the barley has harmed their pets, some severely.

Mayor Tom Mackin, in a statement on Friday, said that the neighbors should continue to work with private property owner on the problem.

“That appears to be the best way to address the matter given the conclusion of the department of agriculture,” Mackin said. “The city will continue to do what it can within the confines of the law.”

In a letter to the city dated Aug. 17, Dorothy Polanda, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture said the issue was discussed with various stakeholders.

“ODA has decided not to add foxtail barley to the noxious weed list at this time,” she said. “We thank you for bringing this issue to our attention and allowing us an opportunity to talk to experts and our counterparts in other states to better understand the problem at hand. We will continue to monitor this species and are welling to work with the property owner and farmer to help with mitigation.”

Last month, the Ohio Department of Agriculture sent a representative to investigate a field in the city that has been overrun with foxtail barley. Two staff members took samples from the field on July 12.

The barbed seeds of the foxtail barley plant can get lodged in the lungs of people and pets, requiring surgery for removal. Several local area pets have required extensive specialty surgery, with 14 seeds removed from one man’s dog.

On July 3, Ohio Rep. Haraz Ghanbari, R-Perrysburg, spoke with the ODA and they then brought in the plant health division.

“I met with the team on July 12. What they related to me is that they had never seen it that bad, that concentrated before,” Ghanbari said.

Perrysburg resident J.R. Miazga first questioned the spread of the foxtail barley on social media when his dogs started showing health problems.