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Help! Chickens provided for in Code, but no one to issue permit?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by CautiousVenturer, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. CautiousVenturer

    CautiousVenturer In the Brooder

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    Chapter 57. LIVESTOCK

    [HISTORY: Adopted by Common Council of City of North Tonawanda 11-17-1958. Amendments noted where applicable.]
    GENERAL REFERENCES
    Dog kennels — See Ch. 32.
    Dogs — See Ch. 33.
    § 57-1. Definitions.

    [Amended 8-21-79]
    The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and the enforcement of this ordinance:

    ANIMALS or LIVESTOCK
    Includes burros, cows, donkeys, goats, horses, mules, pigs, sheep, bees or other insects and any other brute or beast as distinguished from man and shall not be construed to apply to dogs and cats.

    HEALTH OFFICER
    The Health Officer of the City of North Tonawanda, New York, or a representative of the Niagara County Health Department or a representative of the New York State Health Department or an authorized representative of either of the above Departments.

    POULTRY
    Includes chickens, ducks, geese, guinea hens, pheasants, turkeys, pigeons and/or other fowl.

    RABBIT
    Includes any small animal of the hare family.

    § 57-2. Maintenance of animals or livestock.
    From and after the enactment of this ordinance, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to harbor or maintain any animals or livestock within the limits of the City of North Tonawanda, New York. This section shall not be construed to apply to slaughterhouses and abattoirs that are covered in the provisions of other city ordinances.
    § 57-3. Maintenance of live rabbits and poultry.
    From and after the enactment of this ordinance, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to harbor or maintain any live rabbits or poultry in any yard, area, cellar, coop, building premises, public market or other public place in the City of North Tonawanda, New York, who does not possess an unrevoked permit from the Health Officer.
    § 57-4. Permits and fees.

    A. Permits for the maintenance of live rabbits and/or poultry may, after investigation, be issued at a fee of $3 for a period of one-year beginning January 1 and shall be renewable within a period of 30 days following expiration.

    B. Permits to maintain registered racing homing pigeon lofts may, after investigation, be issued without fee in consideration of the contributions of owners of these lofts to Civil Defense.

    C. Permits may be temporarily suspended or revoked by the Health Officer at any time when, in his opinion, rabbits or poultry are found to constitute a health nuisance.
    § 57-5. Restriction of live rabbits and/or poultry.
    All live rabbits and/or poultry shall be confined to proper areas and shall not be allowed to roam at large. This section shall not be construed to apply to pigeons.
    § 57-6. Housing of rabbits and poultry.
    All structures for the feeding and maintenance of rabbits and/or poultry shall be constructed and maintained in a manner as approved by the Health Officer.
    § 57-7. Enforcement.

    [Amended 8-21-79]
    This ordinance shall be enforced by the Health Officer and the North Tonawanda Building Inspector.
    § 57-8. Penalties.
    Any person, firm or corporation violating any provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of an offense and, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $50 or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both.
    § 57-9. Repealer; when effective.
    All ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed; and this ordinance shall be in full force and take effect immediately upon its adoption and publication.
    § 57-10. Severability.
    Should any paragraph, section, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance be declared unconstitutional or invalid for any reason, the remainder of the said ordinance shall not be affected thereby.

    This is North Tonawanda's code for chicken keeping. I went to the code enforcement office this morning to see what "specifically" would be needed to meet with the requirements of obtaining a permit and was told "yeah that's the code, but we don't have a health officer so there's no permit" . Anyone else run into anything similar? Any thoughts? Experiences?​
     

  2. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Songster

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    The code has this statement, "This ordinance shall be enforced by the Health Officer and the North Tonawanda Building Inspector." So I would go to the building inspector and ask to apply for a poultry permit and see what they say. The other option you have is to just start raising chickens, but follow the guidelines in the code. If you receive a violation notice from anyone other than the building inspector, it should be invalid. You can also interpret what you heard as there isn't a permit required because there is no health inspector. Poultry isn't classified under livestock, so the overall ban on livestock doesn't apply to rabbits or poultry.

    Edit: re-reading the code as long as you follow the guidelines, there isn't any other requirements or limit of numbers of poultry allowed, no ban on roosters, no requirement to stay a certain number of feet from a neighbor's property, etc. It sounds like the framer's intended a permit to be granted as long as it was applied for and no nuisance resulted, there is no language saying what you need to have or do to receive a permit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
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  4. CautiousVenturer

    CautiousVenturer In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the second opinions.... I know I'm "putting myself on the radar", but I actually emailed the mayor last night. We're a small enough city that it's not a ridiculous thing to do and the front page of our city website says "contact me if you can't find or need anything!". I included a picture of the little backyard coop and run I'd like to have, linked to the city code, and offered up a couple other guidelines I think might be helpful to keep in mind when opening this can of worms, like barring roosters, limiting numbers, must be kept clean, restricting commercial poultry use, etc. It might help that the next closest city (Buffalo) has allowances for chicken keeping... I framed it in a "in these rough economic times, we have a social responsibility to use our resources wisely and be good neighbors, and I just want three little hens for eggs and household pets. I swear not to turn my property into a zoo, farm, or nuisance" kind of way...

    The code guy said I could try to sneak one but if somebody ratted me out, I'd have to have "chicken bbq" that night. I'm not going to invest into putting together a nice setup and getting my little chicks just to have someone make me get rid of them!

    Wish me luck!
     
  5. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Songster

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    Northeast Nebraska
    As a code enforcement official, I think you are going in too deep with contacting the mayor, etc. The building inspector is the only responsible official named in the code (since there is no health official). If the building inspector says there isn't a permit, the city is choosing not to enforce a code on the books. I would check with a local attorney and get their take on the code. Typically, if the city chooses not to enforce a code on their books you wouldn't be in violation. You could even send $3 and a notice you are going to have chickens to the building inspector. The one thing I wouldn't do is push the limits. I would keep a clean coop, not stockpile manure where it can get wet, probably not have roosters, and start with just a few chickens. Remember, right now chickens are legal in your city.
     
  6. jerryb

    jerryb Chirping

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    Quote:there you have it. do not suggest changing the code, if you do that you open a public hearing and then you will have opponents who envision flocks invading their paradise. if the Mayor says just do it, then do it and keep quite. so long as your neighbors are on board you will be fine. I have no prohibition in my neighborhood/township and my neighbors buy eggs from my daughter so I'm good to go for now. don't make your own trouble.

    good luck
    jerry
     
  7. CautiousVenturer

    CautiousVenturer In the Brooder

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    Nov 30, 2011
    Quote:there you have it. do not suggest changing the code, if you do that you open a public hearing and then you will have opponents who envision flocks invading their paradise. if the Mayor says just do it, then do it and keep quite. so long as your neighbors are on board you will be fine. I have no prohibition in my neighborhood/township and my neighbors buy eggs from my daughter so I'm good to go for now. don't make your own trouble.

    good luck
    jerry

    I was told by the code officer that I could "sneak" one, but if anyone reported to authorities that I even had one, I'd be obligated to get rid of it. That's what I'd be afraid of. I'm reading it as "illegal unless you have a permit. Can't get a permit? Still illegal since you still don't have a permit". We'll see. Our one neighbor is moving and I have NO idea what the new neighbor would be like.... otherwise I would just chance it and be open with my current neighbors. I want to have a leg to stand on if someone tries to make me get rid of them after I get them....

    I thought the code as written sounded pretty optimistic and reasonable, which is why I went to inquire about it in the first place... The code officer even sounded scornful about the pet rabbits I brought up, mentioning that I'm sure they're popular despite being in the same category and poultry. Definitely probably not an animal lover....


    We'll see...
     

  8. porcupine73

    porcupine73 In the Brooder

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    Buffalo, NY
    Hi. So how'd it work out? I'm moving to the Town of Tonawanda and was hoping they will allow a couple hens in the backyard.
     
  9. baunlee

    baunlee Songster

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    Western New York
    second this, would like some follow up on your story
     

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