City ordinance grey area?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by wyattburp, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. wyattburp

    wyattburp Hatching

    Jul 22, 2007
    Pacific NW
    I wanted other peoples opinion on this, my wife and I figure our new chicks will be part of our family and are thus considered pets.

    This ordinance confuses me... Do you think we'll be keeping chicks illegally, after reading the below? We've ordered 4, and they'll free range for the most part in our back yard (they will have a small fenced area too).

    It's really weird too, because every city and county around us allow chickens freely. I've always known that the big city next to us (Portland Or) allows chickens, so I never thought that my city, so close to farm land, would be opposed to them...I didn't think to look until today while I was bored at work.

    From the Livestock and Poultry section...

    "Except for household pets and as otherwise permitted by the Code or other City ordinance, no person shall keep or maintain livestock or poultry within the City."
  2. witeowl

    witeowl In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2008
    No answers, but you have my commiseration. The only limitation on animals affecting chickens within my city limits is "no nuisance". BUT our CC&R says "no livestock or animals other than those commonly kept as pets." Um... who defines "commonly"? So I just checked with all my connecting neighbors and they're all perfectly OK with my upcoming flock. Whew!

    The only sticking point I see in what you posted is the "household pets" part. That sounds like an indoor anaconda would be OK but an outdoor pet chicken would not. You might want to have a chicken diaper or two on hand just in case. [​IMG]
  3. EngieKisses

    EngieKisses Songster

    Jul 10, 2008
    Collinsville, Oklahoma
    Sounds to me like they have made the ordinance general enough to give them the ability to play as they see fit. Like a child who changes the rules as they go along. Hope all goes okay.
  4. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    I think that unless they have an actual listing of what animals are considered "household pets", you would be well within you rights to keep chickens as pets. As far as not being inside pets, I'm sure there are plenty of dogs that never see the inside of a house either. Good luck with your critters! [​IMG]
  5. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Songster

    May 8, 2008
    that is the same "ordinance" we have in our city. And the cities around us all have no problem with poultry.[​IMG]
    Several people in my city have horses in their back yards. ONe person up the way from me has a small pony that the city council decided was a pet. So if they can have a pony as a pet, then I can have some hens.
    What gets me is I have been listening to several dogs all around my neighborhood bark since 5 this morning. Yet "that" is ok because they are "pets" [​IMG]
  6. motorboy

    motorboy In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2008
    River Falls, WI
    I am a City Planner and have worked in Cities that allowed them and ones that didn’t. My first comment is that the language you provided appears as a grey area. Ordinances are not written to be grey. They often (like your excerpt) are written in a way that will not contradict other parts of the ordinance.

    I am confidant that it was written to preclude chickens [​IMG] However, you could try to argue that it is a pet. You do not let them in the house, although many dog owners do not either. The city staffs response will probably be equal to the complaints they receive.

    Unfortunately, I have learned that some people with freak-out at the notion of a chicken in the neighborhood even if it doesn’t make a noise, smell, or appearance.

    These rules that preclude poultry are put in new ordinances as boilerplate language by planners unlike myself. To most it is commonsense that poultry shall not be allowed in a city. This is why it is important to stay informed and be active in your local politics. In addition, laws are made to be changed, that is our job. Cities have a procedure for making an ordinance amendment.

    Good Cluck
  7. Yadichick81

    Yadichick81 In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2008
    I live in Bakersfield and in the city...I am keeping my can keep up to 6 chicken..(but no roosters) they are a food provinding animal pluss they are my pets!! I love them and there names are as listed in peking order:
    They are all different breeds and I am alos getting a Silkie soon! So there:p
    You can fight ur way around it..chickens are just as intellegent if not more, than a cat or dog! They have alot of personality and pay back in love and EGGS:D Take care and keep us updated.

    I know my spelling sthinks but u understand:/
  8. wyattburp

    wyattburp Hatching

    Jul 22, 2007
    Pacific NW
    Thanks for all the replies. I figure if we do get in trouble, I could always play dumb and say, "well, I did get my chicks from, so I thought they were OK since the ordinance for the poultry sections states 'Except for household pets...' " [​IMG]

    I'm sure though if the complaint comes, I'll have to get rid of them. Do you suppose we should start talking to our neighbors now to feel them out for friendliness towards chickens, or should I just surprise them? If they don't like chickens, they may be proactive and call the city before my chicks even get here (they ship out on the 18th).

    I wonder if bird lovers (watchers) generally favor chickens. Our neighbors behind us do everything they can to attract birds to the area... I wonder if they'll care...
  9. witeowl

    witeowl In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2008
    Quote:That will be a selling point for your bird loving neighbors. I'm told that backyard chickens actually attract other birds.

    I understand the hesitation for talking to your neighbors. I was very afraid to hear a solid no and have all my hopes dashed. So, I went prepared for answers to all their worries (though they didn't express any) and even had a "pet chicken promises" sheet printed out. (No roosters, no more than x number of hens, no smell, etc.) ((Also, I used the word *pet* about twenty times on the sheet just to reinforce the idea.)) In the end, they all seemed very surprised that I even thought they had a say in what animals I keep. (yay!)

    All in all, I suspect that neighbors are more amenable to neighborhood chickens when they're asked beforehand, rather than getting all up in arms when they are surprised later. But that's a decision you're going to have to make.

    Also, if you get your chickens from that website, it certainly looks like it could make for an excellent defense! [​IMG]
  10. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Songster

    May 8, 2008
    "I'm told that backyard chickens actually attract other birds."

    Ya know, that's interesting.
    I have been putting out bird feeders on my porch for years. Never had a lot of interest in it from the local wild ones. Until I got the girls. Now I have two feeders out there and they are both always busy. And the girls arent even out side yet!

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