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Are chickens considered "livestock" in your state/town?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by BikerBabeRules, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. BikerBabeRules

    BikerBabeRules Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Vermont, USA
    Hi-
    Dealing with town here regarding my chickens and living in Residential A where "livestock" is permitted with a Conditional Use Permit. However, under the current town bylaws, "livestock" is listed as Cows, Horses, Sheep, etc. (etc. is actually there, just liked i typed it, that is what they listed) There is no definition of livestock in those bylaws either. I'm told they assumed everyone knew chickens were livestock.
    The new bylaws that are still draft form, go into a little more detail. Chickens are listed, however, ducks, peafowl, guineas and lot's others are not. They say the new (unapproved bylaws can apply to me as they are required by law to enforce both, even though their own rules say they have to be approved before enforcing) Go figure. Does it sound like legally they don't have a leg to stand on? Assuming everything and the zoning admin admitted both the current and new ones coming into affect are scetchy at best. Argh. They have decided i can have 24 chickens, NO roosters and have to do my best to keep fly control and smell down. My chickens are confined to MY property, have fresh shavings regularly ( I have a plentiful supply of them) and there are only 4 flys on the sticky fly paper in the 8x12 coop they are in, as well as a chainlink pen that is 8x12. I'm going to fight this, as I think legally they can't even require a conditional use permit. I won't have more that 24 chickens but have some great lines of marans and ameracaunas that I would like to reproduce, thus needing a couple roos at some point. I would take on this process on my own, with no counsel.
    What are your thoughts?
    Thanks so much,
    Kathy
    [​IMG]
     
  2. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Well, a couple things:

    1) Its common for new bylaws to be retroactively enforced because that's why the new bylaw was drafted in the first place. Laws are always enacted in hindsight because a certain situation has prompted a need for their creation. "Grandfathering" anything is always an exception and the grandfathered exception need to be noted in the new bylaw to be enforceable. So yes - they can apply the new law to you even though you "predate" the upcoming bylaw, so to speak.

    2) I guess I’m curious as to what you want to “take on” - that fact that you are not grandfathered and would be subject to paying for a conditional permit required by a bylaw that your situation pre-dates? You certainly an act as you own counsel, but how you would seek an exception depend on what you're out to gain.

    [​IMG]
    ~Phyllis
     
  3. BikerBabeRules

    BikerBabeRules Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Vermont, USA
    Hi Phyliss-
    I feel according the the bylaws i'm currently under, i don't even need a conditional use permit. I should not have had to go thru the process of paying for and obtaining one when according the their unclear laws (by their own admission) it doesn't say one can't have chickens. I would take on not having to move my chickens to the other end of the property because one neighbor lied under oath about her reasons for not having my chickens hwere they are. (she's been a troublemaker since highschool) She said it was becasue she can't sell her house (over priced and a dump, can't even keep renters do to the smell inside and mess) or rent her garage apartment. The apartment has has a steady flow of renters in the 26 years i've lived next door. She's being a jerk and I have to move my chickens and their setup to the other end of my .24 acres. There is no other place that would work to have them, thus wanting to push their decision.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:So - just so I understand, let me know if I have this right:

    The town is demanding that you obtain a conditional permit, but they have ordered you to do so prior to changing the bylaw that allows them to enforce the permit. And prior to enforcing the conditional permit, the bylaw was silent on your situation.

    Hmm. If I understand that right, then you may have a good argument.

    ~Phyllis
     
  5. BikerBabeRules

    BikerBabeRules Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 13, 2008
    Vermont, USA
    Yes, I think there is a case here Phyliss. Thanks for taking the time to respond. The current bylaw states a CUP must be obtained to havel ivestock ie: cows, horses, sheep, etc. in Residential A. They do not define define livestock either. They have admitted they "assumed" everyone would know chickens was in there, it wasn't, it's written exactly as i just printed it. ETC, doesn't assume anything in my opinion. Before I knew this, i got the CUP application, paid the $25, in 2 months of me having chickens outside (I have been hatching eggs inside for months) not a single neighbor called or complained or had any comment to the town offices about my chickens OR the fact I had a she put on my property (had NO clue I needed permission for that either). Nobody in town cares! In fact, they can't wait for eggs,they bring their kids to see them, they feed them, etc...it's great. At the CUP hearing my whacked (everyone knows she's a crazy alcholic) shows up grump. The board felt they "had" to hear you and consider her. She doesn't even live there, hasn't for years, just owns the property so had been served notice of hearing.
    I'm even considering asking for my $25 fee back as it was uncessary. Well, so this has caused quite a stir at the town zoning admins office. Our Vermont Statues cleary talks about Livestock AND poultry. Poultry being any domesitcated fowl. If they didn't want folks to have chickens, they should have said so in the current bylaws, been more specific. I was told by the CUP board that anything that lives on a farm is considered livestock. Well, dogs and cats live on farms, so they are livestock. They angrily shouted NO, they are pets, everyone knows that. So yesterday when I was at the town office, the sign on the door said NO PETS ALLOWED, so I spose it's okay to bring my chicken to the next meeting considering they believe chickens to be livestock and NOT pets?[​IMG]
     
  6. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Kathy,

    My apologies for taking so long tor respond, life & work had been busy! Here is another way to look at this:

    1) It's normal for a local government to change a bylaw and not grandfather residents and make then everyone pay for the permit to bring them into compliance. Decisions to grandfather for any bylaw amendment are generally done on a case by case basis.

    2) That's still a different thing that having a town charge you for a permit based on a bylaw that is silent on your situation, and then say to you "You need to pay for the permit, and we'll chance the bylaw when we get around to it."

    I can't believe they can get away with #2 because that violates due process which is a cornerstone of our legal system and is found in the 14th amendment of the Constitution,

    You can't be in violation of a regulation that's doesn’t exist, and so how can they charge your for a permit pursuant to a regulation that doesn't apply to you?

    HOWEVER - here is something else to consider: what do you really want? If you want your $25 back because they forced to you get a permit for a bylaw that doesn't apply to you, you could pursue that, and you'd likely win if indeed they did not follow due process and you can prove it. But then the town could always just properly amend the bylaw according to required procedure and charge you $25 again anyway.

    On the other hand, if your goal is be allowed to keep chickens with no permit, then that is a different legal issue altogether.

    [​IMG]
    ~Phyllis
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  7. Government and law enforcement KNOW citizens cannot assume anything. A law must be CLEARLY written, so there has to be no interpretation. Its that simple. If you need a lawyer to figure if you are ok or not...then a law as simple as this is written poorly.

    Chickens...no chickens...that is the question.
     
  8. Betsy

    Betsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2007
    Northeast Indiana
    Chickens are considered livestock in the city I live near...and are forbidden. Thankfully I live in the county so don't have to worry about that law.

    BikerBabe, my heart goes out to you...I hope things work out to your benefit soon.
     

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