Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chef Chicken Jimmy, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. Chef Chicken Jimmy

    Chef Chicken Jimmy New Egg

    Sep 14, 2008
    I have received a citation stating that "CHickens and Roosters" are not allowed in residential zones from the Memphis City and Shelby County Construction Code Enforcement Office. I was informed by Animal Control that they are legal as long as they have food, water, shelter and are in an enclosed space. Mine have all of the above and heat and lights. The code states that "Livestock, Poultry, Dairy Products and Egg Products" are not allowed in residential zones. I asked for the definitions of poultry, and egg products and was told there were none, but there are definitions for EVERYTHING in the codes. So, when I have to go to court for this, should I start with the fact that everyone in the room is in violation if they have eggs in the icebox or a turkey in the freezer? or should I run the gamut with everything that pretty much anyone does, from gardening to baking bread that could be cited with this really poorly phrased, under defined code system? Or perhaps I should start calling in violations on all of my neighbors as they come home with milk, mayo, or compost? I dunno I am amazingly frustrated and not sure how best to approach this. Suggestions? Comments? by the by the code cited is 3064 section 21 chart 1
  2. congdon476

    congdon476 GaLLiNa LOcA

    Dec 31, 2008
    Pueblo Area
    I don't think being cocky will get you anywhere in a court room with a judge... so be careful. I would look up the actual written law and photocopy it, if there is no rule on poultry. Just because animal control "said" there was no rule against it, doesn't mean there isn't. That guy or gal who "said" that may no longer even be with animal control.
    If you find that there is a law against it, when was the law adopted into acceptance? Was it before or after you started with your flock? If it was after, you maybe able to grandfather the law and your current flock will be allowed to live out their days... but usually you can't add to it.
    Good luck. It sucks when people tell you one thing and someone else says another in the laws.
  3. fopzuu

    fopzuu Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2007
    I feel your pain. We are going through the same thing right now in Maryland. We're in a RURAL residential area and aren't allowed to have "livestock" or "anything else not usually considered a pet". There are peacocks across the road and a horse and goat around the corner. And it's all in the same zoning area![​IMG]
  4. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    I just read a thread yesterday/late about this topic. Poster stated that the state makes the law and the cities try to make their own. Need to find that but it was posted in a different index. I agree with 476 don't get cocky, it is a BIG turn-off. I'll try to find it unless someone else does. I think this post should be moved to the local chicken law index. Good luck.
  5. wingnut1

    wingnut1 Crazy Bird Lady

    I feel for you - my hope is that as more folks decide to own back yard chickens, that cities/towns will develop codes/laws that distinguish between production poultry farms and hobby owners.

    You might want to check out the BYC topic on local chicken laws and ordinances - it may have info that you'll find useful

    Here is a BYC link in that forum that may connect you with further info on Memphis chicken ownership.

    Best of luck to you!
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  6. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    Ind the
    Quote:Not sure if this will help but read up on it and see if it will get you somewhere. I'm not computer saavy so this is what I'm doing. Brokenegg posted this info yesterday at 2:16 am in the local chicken law index. His subject starts" Hi all, Hope you all..........."
  7. JHaller

    JHaller Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 23, 2008
    Austin TX
    Before you go to court, can you find out what prompted the citation? Did a neighbor complain about noise? or coop odor? Did the birds get on someone else's property? Are there snoopy backyard police in your neighborhood that like to rat out lawbreakers of any kind?

    I understand your frustration. An "anonymous" source called the Health Department about my "smelly" chickens. I let my indignation show when he refused to reveal the "source". I quickly backed off, because he was clearly willing to shut down my chicken hobby. Everything came out ok for me.

    When you get copies of the code, be prepared to justify that you are keeping "pets" if the law forbids "poultry". There is a neighborhood near me where poultry is prohibited except for "Show Fowl". So The chicken keepers all show up at a fair every year.

    The worst thing you can do is seem disrespectful of the law or of the judge. Go in to court with an attitude of "My understanding is _____ and I believe I am in compliance by _______, and I am willing to do _____ to make things comply with our codes. Come across as an informed and responsible citizen who is working to resolve the problem. It makes it easier for judges to not waste time following up on you.

    Do everything you can to make the coop unobtrusive and odor free. If all else fails, the outlaw chicken websites may be helpful. Google Madison wisconsin chicken coops for some good sites.

    And keep us posted on the outcome? These are good experiences to share.
  8. Gonzo the Great

    Gonzo the Great Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 14, 2008
    Sugar Land, TX
    I feel your pain! I went cheap and bought some unsexed birds last year and had to get rid of all but 2 of the 10 birds. Does HOA have jurisdiction over city/county laws? I am in an unincorporated area.

    I have the fever again, and the prescription isn't more cow bell....

    I've been doing some planning and hopefully will have an outlaw coop underway:
    1) ensure the chicks are only PULLETS!!! And only aroun 3-4 of them!
    2) They will not be free ranging!
    3) The coop will not have any exposed areas to see the birds, it will be a stealth-type box coop with a separate camouflaged run.
    4) put up wind chimes near my nosy neighbor's fence line. She had a dog that tore thru our shared fence every time the birds grazed near her area.

    I think this would work. Anybody have suggestions?
  9. Peeper

    Peeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 3, 2009
    Little Rock, AR
    The first thing you need to do is FOI (freedom of Information act) any and all complaints the city has against you or your address. You will know where the complaint originated. You will also find out if there are NO complaints against you. This could be the case of a grumpy city worker with nothing better to do than harrass you. Get a Certified copy of the ordinance from city hall. Have this ready to present in court. A case may be made that the ordinance is too vague. I've been down this road and I understand what you are going through. They even cited me for feces in my yard for putting horse manure ( I purchased) in my flower beds. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!
  10. FlewTheCoop

    FlewTheCoop Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 14, 2009
    Man, that really sucks. I called to ask about that here in Mississippi, and found out the the rule is "no livestock" in a residential area, but chickens aren't considered livestock in Mississippi. lol. I got lucky.

    It's really a shame that there are rules against keeping a few chickens. I know it's supposed to be for health and noise reasons...(not that all chickens are noisy). But it just seems like nowadays it should be taken on a case-by-case basis, because there are so many more conscientious chicken keepers now. Those folks should be allowed to have their chickens, imho.

    I guess it all comes down to how much work the local government is willing to put into checking on cases. It's a shame that AC had the wrong information. [​IMG]

    I hope it works out for you. Maybe you can get a special permit or something, like people do for exotic pets? I don't know...I am ignorant of such things.

    Good luck!

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