City (Newport, RI) Continues Crack Down on Chickens

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by mandalitten, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. mandalitten

    mandalitten In the Brooder

    May 17, 2010
    At least three more homeowners have also been investigated over poultry-related complaints in recent months. As a zoning violation, homeowners who refuse to comply with the ordinance could face a $500 a day fine.
    It's amazing that there is such an ordinance for a state that has the Rhode Island Red as its State Bird and whose former Governor said everyone should own a chicken.

    "NEWPORT – The city continued its crackdown on illegal livestock this week, as yet another Newport homeowner was brought into court over complaints that he was keeping chickens in his backyard.

    Bill Murdock lives at the end of a quiet dead end street with views of Vernon Park, just a stone's throw from the Newport-Middletown line.

    His property is large by Newport standards – just over a third of an acre, with a well kept lawn and small vegetable garden where Murdock grows a variety of tomatoes and greens. It's all encased by a chain link fence, and for the last nine months or so, has been home to about a dozen chickens – all of them hens.

    He gets about a dozen eggs a day from his brood and he's been known to bring them to local soup kitchens from time to time. But that's not the point.

    For Murdock, the chickens are as much his pets as his two beagles are – or for that matter, the goose that he kept for some 27 years. He got them last winter as chicks, and raised them in the house before moving them into an outdoor coop.

    Since then, he's built a sprawling, fully enclosed compound which he's slowly been adding onto. A large, stockade fence was the most recent addition. Inside, the enclosure is tidy, as far as chicken habitats go. There's a peach tree in the center, and two small coops for roosting. A metal shed set on a concrete slab will serve as a winter home, while a small garden space toward the rear of the property could provide even more room to roam.

    Murdock washes down the area twice a day, and notes that the birds make no more noise than an average warbler. There are no roosters here; no plans to set up a farm stand. Rather, Murdoch, who also owns a pair of nearby homes that straddle either side of the city limits, says that he's simply looking to quietly enjoy his property.

    The city, however, takes a different view.

    With its colonial footprint and densely populated neighborhoods, the city leaves little room for domestic chicken populations.

    Earlier this week, Murdock appeared before Municipal Court Judge J. Russell Jackson after failing to comply with an order from the city's zoning office. It was at least the third case such case to appear on the docket in recent months, as the city has begun cracking down on what's become an emerging trend: residential chicken keeping."
    The entire article can be found here:

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