Unincorporated DeKalb County Georgia Residents
Reaching out to the Forum Members for guidance and support:
On Wednesday of May 3, 2011 I received a Code Enforcement Warning Notice that I must remove from my property my 5 laying hens.
I am perplexed because the City of ATLANTA and the City of DECATUR (which is in the County of DeKalb) do not make this distinction but allow laying hens; but males may not be kept.
As you would expect my five laying hens know their names, come on command, eat ticks, insects, and help with the composting and garden but appear to be defined as “Livestock” as per a Code Enforcement Warning Notice. We along with our neighbors see them as pets. I have spoken with the officer that taped the citation on my door and she has confirmed that they include Chickens et al as Livestock. However, even she sounded like she thought the whole deal was silly but she has to do her job. She said a complaint came from a neighbor and they claimed we also had Turkeys etc... I know they live at the end of the culsac and have never been to my knowlege in my backyard.
I am sure in these times where home gardens have become a normal part of one’s food staple, Ordinance DeKalb County 27-733.e must have come up many times. In my research (via the internet) it was a prevalent topic. Ordinance 27-733.e did referred to “livestock”. In review of the technical definition of "livestock": any bird, including a chicken, kept as a pet does not represent livestock because it is not grown and raised and kept to be consumed and is not sold for consumption - therefore it is in the same category as any other pet bird. The arguement apparently has been made and lost. I did find that per the DeKalb code section 196 under Animal control included below that chickens are viewed as Domestic Animals and can be considered tame pets but did not take me anywhere.
What now... If you live in Unincorporated Dekalb please email or call your County Commissioner in support of them adopting more reasonable intrepretation that would allow Back Yard Chickens. The Commissioners contact information is easily found using a google search for "DeKalb County Georgia Commissioners".
Thank you in Advance