A Complaint, but isn't it LEGAL???

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by LaGallinaRoja, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. LaGallinaRoja

    LaGallinaRoja Out Of The Brooder

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    We got a letter in the mail today, saying there was a complaint about our chickens/roosters. We live in Bakersfield, CA in a residential community. We researched the laws about chickens before we got them, and they said both chickens and roosters are permitted as long as they are confined to the yard (which they are). I'm devastated because my chickens are precious to me! They are going to do an inspection, and if they aren't "taken care of," we will be fine BIG time!!! Does anyone else have problems like this? What should I do?? I don't have much of a problem getting rid of our rooster (although I love him) but we've spent so much money and time taking care of our hens that my husband is going to KILL me if I have to get rid of them all!! Somebody PLEASE HELP!!!
     
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    You need to prepare for the inspection as best you can. Make sure you clean everything and do a double-check for any violations.

    Good luck!
     
  3. YooperK

    YooperK Out Of The Brooder

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    I would also print out the law and have it handy - sometimes local law enforcement doesn't actually know what the law is.
     
  4. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    And remember, the zoning for your parcel trumps the municipal code, every time.
     
  5. greenegglover

    greenegglover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many are you allowed to have? How many do you have? Maybe their is an odor blowing over to your neighbors yard? I know in this heat the manure they make sure stinks in the summer! I say tidy up a little extra special and allow the inspection, but I would print the "law" just in case!
     
  6. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are lucky you received a letter first and not a surprise inspection. Any old busybody can make a crank complaint, even if it has no merit and the city has to investigate to see if it valid. I have a friend who lives on a block with a crank. She has been turned in multiple times for: her dog barking (not hers), her lawn being too tall/too many weeds, her tree not being pruned and being 'hazrdous', her garbage cans not being brought in, parking her car next to her driveway on the dirt (has to be on gravel or other finished surface) and most recently her car being parked on the city street without being moved (they have to be moved every 2 days). Kid you not, the police officer made her hubby get in the car and drive it around the block to demonstrate it was drivable. They return every few days for a demo.

    I would look up to see if California has a right to farm law on the books and what it says as they vary from state to state. It could be that someone thought your rooster was noisy and it may be a noise ordinance vs a right farm. In Colorado, there is no mention of size of farm or that you even have to produce anything. It does say that specifically that people have to put up with the usual noise and smells of agricultural operations. That may be at odds with a city ordinance.

    I recommend that you be very gracious and kind (even though you are unhappy they are even there) and show them anything they want to see. Make sure your food is secure and your pens cleaned up and there is not anything even a nit-picker could complain about. I would have all the statutes printed or memorized and have an attitude of 'shucks, we've always have had chickens (it is our right, after all) and love them and only give them the best of care. Please tell me what what is going on?' Don't over-share.

    Be forwarned that if you have a neighborhood crank that doesn't like you they may start calling you in for anything. Its not the city's fault or the governments fault, they have to look in to the complaints. They also can't tell you directly who is making the complaints, although if you are nice and see them every week they may roll their eyes in the direction of the offender while saying they can't tell you who the curmudgeon is.
     
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Quote:First, does it say WHAT the complaint is? If it is legal to have them, then that complaint is invalid, and is not cause for inspection. It sounds, however from your saying "They are going to do an inspection, and if they aren't "taken care of," we will be fine BIG time!!!," that perhaps the complaint is about their conditions and care. Someonething along the lines of treating them humanely, or that they are creating a nuisance (odor, health concerns, cleanliness, attracting vermin, noise, etc.).

    Not only print out the ordinance and zoning sections that refer to poultry and pets, but also find the sections that define nuisances. Review them, and make sure that you meet the standards for all these; highlight the pertinent sentences. Then call the office that sent the letter and ask for their grounds for requesting an inspection, and exactly what the complaint is. If the complaint clearly is not legitimate (for example, you have chickens, but they are allowed), then calmly and politely give them the reference that shows that you are indeed allowed to have chickens, or whatever else makes the complaint without merit. If, at the end of the conversation, you believe the complaint is without merit, but they still want to inspect, politely tell them that you will require a search warrant to allow them onto your property. Make sure you keep your gates locked (if they are not already, immediately get and install latches and locks, along with No Trespassing signs).

    Remain polite and respectful, but insist upon your rights.
     
  8. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Okay, I looked up Bakersfield code online, and not all zoning allows poultry. What zoning district do you live in? Secondly, is it the city that sent the letter, or do you live in an HOA and it came from them?
     
  9. LaGallinaRoja

    LaGallinaRoja Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:The Law doesn't give a number allowed, it just says they need to be confined to the backyard, or penned in. I'm sure the complaint was about the rooster crowing. There really isn't a smell because I keep it really clean and not many flies. Thanks for the advice!
     
  10. LaGallinaRoja

    LaGallinaRoja Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:It is the city that sent the letter, and we are in R-1 zone.
     

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