Got a visit from code enforcement

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by oparea, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. oparea

    oparea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2008
    Saint Marys, GA
    And now a letter from the police department about my chickens. Apparently someone complained, I do have a few roos I need to get rid of.
    Just wondering if I could get some help finding out my if I am actually in the wrong here.

    "I conducted my inspection and found that you have chickens stored on your property. This condition is in violation of the Code of Ordinances of the city of St. Marys:
    Code of Ordinances 46 Environment, Article II Nuisances, 110 Zoning"

    "Sec. 110-62. R1, Single Family Residential District.
    District intent. This is the most restrictive residential district. The principal use of land is for single-family dwellings and related recreational, religious and educational facilities needed to provide the basic elements of a balanced and attractive residential area."

    "Uses permitted. Property and buildings in an R-1, Single-Family Residential District shall be used for the following purposes:
    General Purpose gardening, but not the keeping of livestock or nondomestic animals;"

    "Any other condition constituting a nuisance under state law."

    "The city is asking you to remove this violation from your property within 15 days to avoid possible nuisance charges being brought against you in municipal court"

    Are chickens considered livestock? I reside in Saint Marys GA, if interested.
     
  2. 3rocksandme

    3rocksandme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2010
    Brookline, NH
    I have an Aunt who lived in Saint Marys, just lovely.

    Yes, chickens are livestock.
     
  3. drdoolittle

    drdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2010
    NE Indiana
    You're "storing" chickens?!? How much do you charge?[​IMG] Seriously, though, I don't know if a chicken is livestock------although to city people, any animal they associate with a farm is livestock. If they aren't, and he is referring to the nondomestic animals, tell him they are completely tame! It also stated:
    "Any other condition constituting a nuisance under state law."

    Does this mean that I can file a complaint when my neighbor's children continuously bother me? And wouldn't it be funny if my neighbors were told:
    "The city is asking you to remove this violation from your property within 15 days to avoid possible nuisance charges being brought against you in municipal court"

    So sorry some one did this to you, but you should try to check into it further before getting rid of your chickens. Someone did this to me where I lived before, and said that my roosters' crowing was bothering them (everyone else told me they really loved hearing the roosters----and I mean EVERYONE). The people who complained were an elderly couple, who always kept there windows closed from the day they moved in, and were gone by 5:00 a.m. anyway! The wife just didn't like me for some reason, although she LOVED my DH! Anyway, the City Code Enforcement officer came out and took pics. of the animals and such, and said they couldn't do anything anyway, because we had grandfathered in on the ordinance-----we lived there for years before the city had annexed that area. Hope your outcome is good.​
     
  4. gettinaclue

    gettinaclue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2009
    Virginia
    Chickens are livestock.

    Here, you can't have any livestock unless you have 5 acres, and then (to my understanding) you can only have one animal per acre you have. So if you are lucky enough to have 5 acres, you can have a max of 5 chickens.

    Just found this out a couple of months ago. Previously I thought I was legal. I'm just glad I decided to not get any roos and check with the neighbors first.
     
  5. oparea

    oparea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2008
    Saint Marys, GA
    Here is the link to city code. According to their definition I don't see how chickens can be considered livestock.

    http://library6.municode.com/default-test/home.htm?infobase=12856&doc_action=whatsnew

    Sec. 14-1. Definitions.
    The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

    Animal means any living thing other than a plant or a human being.

    Animal control officer means any employee of the county duly designated as an animal control officer by the commissioners to enforce the provisions of this chapter.

    Confined means restricted by a fence or leash to the premises of the owner or custodian at all times or merely on the property under the control of the owner or custodian whereby the animal shall not be permitted to leave those premises, unless leashed and accompanied by the owner or custodian. Exempted are hunting dogs while being trained and during the act of hunting.

    Fowl means a bird of any kind.

    Guard dog means any dog which has been trained to attack persons and/or animals independently or upon command, and any dog which, while not so trained, has a known propensity to attack persons or animals and is used for the purpose of providing security to any person or premises.

    Health department means the county health department.

    Livestock means all animals of the equine, bovine or swine class, including goats, sheep, mules, and other grazing animals.
     
  6. oparea

    oparea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2008
    Saint Marys, GA
    Also

    Sec. 110-62. R-1, Single-family Residential District.
    District intent. This is the most restrictive residential district. The principal use of land is for single-family dwellings and related recreational, religious and educational facilities needed to provide the basic elements of a balanced and attractive residential area. These areas are intended to be defined and protected from the encroachment of uses not performing a function appropriate to the single-family residential environment. Internal stability, attractiveness, order and efficiency are encouraged by providing for adequate light, air and open space for dwellings and related facilities and through consideration of the proper functional relationship of each element.
    (a) Uses permitted. Property and buildings in an R-1, Single-family Residential District shall be used for the following purposes:
    (1) Single-family residences (must meet the requirements in subsection (d) below);
    (2) Parks or playgrounds;
    (3) Country clubs, golf courses;
    (4) General purpose or gardening, but not the keeping of livestock or nondomestic animals;
    (5) Accessory buildings and structures;
    (6) Home business offices.
    (b) Special permit uses. The following uses may be permitted in accordance with provisions contained in section 110-145, and if additional conditions which may be required are met.
    (1) Public and private schools;
    (2) Public buildings and utilities;
    (3) Churches;
    (4) Day care centers or kindergartens;
    (5) General purpose farm or garden that includes the keeping of livestock or nondomestic animals;
    (6) Home occupations provided that the conditions set forth in section 110-97 are met.
     
  7. oparea

    oparea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2008
    Saint Marys, GA
    Quote:Yeah there is no clear definition for the nondomestic animal term. I could see how roosters may be considered a nuisance but I think it's a stretch to make me remove all of the chickens from my property.
     
  8. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Chickens are domestic; have been for thousands of years. Junglefowl are not, but chances are that you don;t have junglefowl. According to the code definitions they are not livestock. How many birds do you have? Do you consider them to be mostly pets or "farm" animals (provide you with eggs and/or meat)?

    Your answer to these two questions will determine whether you want to argue that you are not in violation (as they are not livestock by their own set of definitions) or apply for a special use permit under Sec. 110-62. R-1, Single-family Residential District....(b) Special permit uses. The following uses may be permitted in accordance with provisions contained in section 110-145, and if additional conditions which may be required are met. ...(5) General purpose farm or garden that includes the keeping of livestock or nondomestic animals;...
     
  9. oparea

    oparea Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2008
    Saint Marys, GA
    Quote:I have about 15 bantams including frizzled cochins d'uccles and silkies. They are mainly pets with the added benefit of providing me with some eggs and cultivating my soil which is very poor. The special use permit is some outlandish fee like $500 a year so I'm not really sure that's going to be worth it. If I do have to get rid of them all what am I supposed to do with them?
     
  10. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:They MUST be going with Non-domestic because according to their own definitions fowl = bird of ANY kind... chicken is a bird (as is parrot for that matter) so gotta be the other one.

    Google Chicken... first entry is wikipedia...
    "The chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Jungle Fowl. "

    Or if they think Wikipedia is shoddy... how about Websters?

    Main Entry: 1chick·en
    Pronunciation: \\ˈchi-kən, sometimes -kəŋ\\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English chiken, from Old English cicen young chicken; akin to Old English cocc cock
    Date: 14th century

    1 a : the common domestic fowl (Gallus gallus) especially when young; also : its flesh used as food

    Either of those blows the Non-Domestic bit out of the water.

    So... that part is dealt with, using their own terms.

    Now the
    "Any other condition constituting a nuisance under state law." is a different story. Call your local extension, 4H, state reps office and ask them to find the specific info on what constitutes a nuisance legally in the state. You might get lucky and find that the law, or rulings made based on it (precedent) show that it's meant for music, parties, loud pipes, etc. If it doesn't specifically mention animals, refers you to the city animal codes, then you might have a shot. But, if it does specify, including animals, then afraid you're busted.

    Not a lawyer, just my two cents on the subject. Hope it turns out positive and you can keep your birds... though, I'd still get rid of the roos...
     

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