Appealing chicken ordinance violation in Berwyn, IL


5 Years
Sep 28, 2014
We've had chickens for several months now in Berwyn, IL. The ordinance is the following:

No person shall own, keep or use any railroad car, yard, pen, place or premises in or upon which fowl, cattle or other animals are confined or kept, so as to be offensive to those residing in the vicinity or an annoyance to others.
(Ord. 07-55, passed 10-23-2007)

I see several issues with this ordinance: 1) It sounds as if you're not allowed to keep a pen, but if you let the chickens run wild that would be fine. 2) It sounds as if chickens are fine as long as they are not disturbing neighbors.

Long story short, my 90 year old neighbor who never ventures outside told her hairdresser about them, and the hairdresser happens to hold some political position in the city. Days later, we had a citation for owning chickens.

As far as I can see, no where in this ordinance does it say that owning chickens is not okay. I need to make a case to appeal this in Cook County court and would appreciate any advice, particularly that reflecting my rights and any legal jardon or techniques I need to be aware of. Unfortunately, we can't afford an attorney especially since if we lose we'll have a fine to pay.

Right now, I am pondering if I should go in the direction of chickens being okay but pens/premises/etc. not being okay, or if I should go in the direction of, if someone is complaining, it needs to be legitimate; i.e. the hairdresser that lives 2 miles away is not being affected by the hens in our backyard coop.



In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 21, 2014
That is strangely written, go to your city hall and ask them for clarification. We are in the same position, we started raising chickens in May and in July our town added an ordinance banning chickens. I never hid the fact that I had chickens and was discussing them with a neighbor when the conversation was overheard by someone who lives four blocks away walkes up to one of the town board members and said " lori has chickens, does she have to get rid of hers? For your town to ban railroad cars seems odd, is or was there something going on with an abundance or railroad cars??
Id go directly to your city hall and ask them specifically what is an isnt allowed, this ordinance seems vague.

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