They say the definition of courage is facing something that terrifies you and doing it anyway. I'm afraid that all the petitions in the world aren't going to take the place of face-to-face meetings. You have to have the courage of your convictions. The feeling of the board is that if you were really serious about wanting to get this changed you'd come in there and answer their questions and explain your position.
There's only one way that's going to happen and that's for one of you to get up there and do it. It's nice that folks from other areas are willing to sign that petition, but unless they are members of that community with the ability to speak from the ballot box on the local level all that does is make your case look like it's so weak that you can't GET support from folks in your own area and are padding the numbers. Sorry, but that's the truth of it.
So get your facts together. Take ordinances from other nearby communities, your petition, and your arguments TO the commission. Is it hard? Yep. Is it intimidating? Absolutely. Is it necessary? You bet it is. But take an Alka Seltzer and get thee to the public office. Tell them up front, first thing out of your mouth, that you are extremely nervous about speaking in front of them or in front of any crowd. Last time I checked, those of us who serve in public office don't want that - we want you to feel like you can come to us and we're going to do all we can to help, or at least listen. Knowing that you are scared spitless but believe it's right to take a stand and offer to work with them to get something going will go a long way, because it takes courage to believe in something so strongly that you are willing to put your fears aside.
Oh, and as for tattle-taling? Go ahead. Why should you be punished for the actions of someone else? If you can prove that those aren't your chickens ripping up the neighborhood you have to do that, for yourself and for folks coming behind you who might also want backyard chickens. It's your responsibility to your community to do what you can to alleviate the destruction of property (chickens can be very destructive). Those chickens running around make all chicken owners look bad, and that's wrong. Letting them know where those birds came from if you can shows them that you don't believe in letting your chickens be a nuisance and that,again, helps you.