Help fight Austin trying to only have the megwealthy allowed to have chickens!

birdlover2

Songster
Jan 28, 2019
560
2,847
207
Ohio
This is ridiculous! There's always some government or another trying to limit or eliminate chickens in an area! I can't even have chickens where I live because of stupid rules that certainly eliminate the poor from being able to own chickens, saying you have to have over 3 acres to have any chickens!
 

TK421

Songster
10 Years
May 24, 2010
293
157
191
Central TX
This is one reason I’d like to drum up support for state rep James Whites chicken bill again the spring. It would limit a city’s ability to reinterpret its laws against chicken owners:

-tk421
Proposed, unpassed Bill text from 2019:
T. (a) Notwithstanding any other law and except as provided by Subsection (b), a municipality may not adopt or enforce an ordinance that prohibits the raising or keeping of six or fewer chickens on a single-family residential lot.

(b) A municipality may impose reasonable regulations on the raising or keeping of poultry on a single-family residential lot that do not have the effect of prohibiting the raising or keeping of six or fewer chickens, including:

(1) a limit on the number of chickens that may be raised or kept in excess of six;

(2) a prohibition on breeding poultry;

(3) a prohibition on raising or keeping roosters; or

(4) the minimum distance between a chicken coop and a residential structure.

(c) An ordinance adopted by a municipality that violates Subsection (a) is void.
 

DorothyH

Chirping
6 Years
Jan 7, 2014
86
10
94
This is ridiculous! There's always some government or another trying to limit or eliminate chickens in an area! I can't even have chickens where I live because of stupid rules that certainly eliminate the poor from being able to own chickens, saying you have to have over 3 acres to have any chickens!
3 acres! That really is a law to support only the wealthy. During pandemics or social unrest only the rich will be allowed to have eggs. :(
 

DorothyH

Chirping
6 Years
Jan 7, 2014
86
10
94
This is one reason I’d like to drum up support for state rep James Whites chicken bill again the spring. It would limit a city’s ability to reinterpret its laws against chicken owners:

-tk421
Proposed, unpassed Bill text from 2019:
T. (a) Notwithstanding any other law and except as provided by Subsection (b), a municipality may not adopt or enforce an ordinance that prohibits the raising or keeping of six or fewer chickens on a single-family residential lot.

(b) A municipality may impose reasonable regulations on the raising or keeping of poultry on a single-family residential lot that do not have the effect of prohibiting the raising or keeping of six or fewer chickens, including:

(1) a limit on the number of chickens that may be raised or kept in excess of six;

(2) a prohibition on breeding poultry;

(3) a prohibition on raising or keeping roosters; or

(4) the minimum distance between a chicken coop and a residential structure.

(c) An ordinance adopted by a municipality that violates Subsection (a) is void.
OR.... the reinterpretation of what an ENCLOSURE is as they are doing in this case.
We do not have any limits to the number of fowl or roosters, just the sound ordinances, which should be enough for that. Dogs can be outrageously loud. The same neighbor that reported us tortured us with their dogs for decades with us begging them and they said that they got the dog in order to bark. Their dogs barked right outside her window constantly. If they are going to make laws against chickens, those same laws should apply to dogs.
 

DorothyH

Chirping
6 Years
Jan 7, 2014
86
10
94
Like someone suggested in this group I wrote to the Travis County AgriLife Extension Help line about the issue and this is what I got back from them:

Good afternoon,

Thank you for reaching out with your question through eXtension. In response to your questions, I have pasted, below, the link to the city codes under which the code enforcement officers are operating, as well as the relevant sections of the code. After reading the relevant codes, I personally think that someone (the code enforcement officer who paid you a visit) with the city is enforcing the codes based on their own personal interpretation of the code language and how the code(s) is/are subsequently enforced. As I read the code language, I would not interpret the language to mean that once the fowl are released from their coop, your fenced-in yard suddenly becomes the "enclosure." Your back yard isn't "housing" the birds and the code states that an enclosure means a pen, cage, coop, loft, stable, shed, structure or enclosure used to "house" a bird, fowl, livestock, or other animal. But, that is my interpretation of the code language and how I interpret the code is irrelevant.

Nowhere in your message do you state how many birds you have. If the number of birds that you have is fewer than ten (10), then the set-back is actually only twenty (20) feet and not fifty (50) feet.

As I see it, you have a couple of options. One would be to reduce the number of birds to nine (9) or fewer, if you have ten or more, and default to the twenty feet rule (assuming that your neighbors' homes are more than twenty (20) feet from your side of the fence(s).

The other option would be to consult with an attorney and challenge the code compliance office's/enforcement officer's interpretation(s) of the code. I have found that there are usually as many different interpretations of codes as there are officers.

https://library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT3ANRE_CH3-2REAN_ART2ENRE_S...

(B)
A person shall keep an animal, fowl, bird, or reptile in an enclosure that meets the requirements of Sections 3-2-12 (Enclosure for Small Animal),

ENCLOSURE means a pen, cage, coop, loft, stable, shed, structure or enclosure used to house a bird, fowl, livestock, or other animal.

3-2-12 - ENCLOSURE FOR SMALL ANIMAL.



(A)

An enclosure used to keep more than two but fewer than 10 small animals must be located at least 20 feet from an adjacent residence or business structure, excluding the residence or business of the owner or handler of the small animals.

(B)

An enclosure used to keep ten or more small animals must be located at least 50 feet from an adjacent residence or business structure, excluding the residence or business structure of the owner or handler of the small animals.

I wish you well in coming to some satisfactory resolution with your fowl issue.

All the best,

Noel Troxclair
County Extension Agent - Ag/Natural Resources
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Travis County
1600B Smith Road, Austin, Texas 78721
PH: 512-854-9614
Mobile: 830-279-4976
noel.troxclair@ag.tamu.edu
 

clickchicks

Chirping
Jun 6, 2020
88
91
53
Texas
Hmm, be cautious of the advice about less than 10 animals. That's specifically listed under "small animals" § 3-2-12. There is a separate code for fowl specifically (§ 3-2-16) that maintains the 50 feet language:

  • An enclosure used to keep two or more fowl must be located at least 50 feet from a residence or business structure, excluding the residence or business of the fowl's owner or handler.
    Source: 1992 Code Section 3-2-26; Ord. 031009-9; Ord. 031211-11; Ord. 20131121-020.

Apparently there are exceptions for pigeons or birds that aren't "fowl" that fall under different guidelines, but if you're going after the city for this they are almost assuredly going to use the § 3-2-16 language for chickens.
 

DorothyH

Chirping
6 Years
Jan 7, 2014
86
10
94
Hmm, be cautious of the advice about less than 10 animals. That's specifically listed under "small animals" § 3-2-12. There is a separate code for fowl specifically (§ 3-2-16) that maintains the 50 feet language:

  • An enclosure used to keep two or more fowl must be located at least 50 feet from a residence or business structure, excluding the residence or business of the fowl's owner or handler.
    Source: 1992 Code Section 3-2-26; Ord. 031009-9; Ord. 031211-11; Ord. 20131121-020.

Apparently there are exceptions for pigeons or birds that aren't "fowl" that fall under different guidelines, but if you're going after the city for this they are almost assuredly going to use the § 3-2-16 language for chickens.
Right... I did notice that... but what the extension is clearly agreeing with is that an "enclosure" is NOT your entire yard if you let them out of the coop to forage... which is what public health is saying even if the coop is 50 feet back. That is all I asked about and what we are trying to fight because most of Austin will no longer be allowed to have their pets out with them any more or to eat bugs or grass. Most yards in Austin are not nearly as big as ours so this is an interpretation meant to punish middle and lower classes in my view. Only people with big yards like mine will be able to have chickens and have them free range to stay healthy and happy.
 

birdlover2

Songster
Jan 28, 2019
560
2,847
207
Ohio
3 acres! That really is a law to support only the wealthy. During pandemics or social unrest only the rich will be allowed to have eggs. :(
I'm not against the wealthy in any respect, and hope to become so one day myself as apart of the American dream, but not as a means in itself of course. If I ever become that fortunate I'll help the less fortunate cause that's what Jesus would do and wants me to do. But nobody should be forced to eat factory farm eggs void of nutrition when they could care for their own egg-layers, and in times like these we should all be free to raise at the least chickens to care for our nutritional needs should supply lines be cut off. We should become more sustainable, not less. I wish you luck fighting against the city government on this issue and hope one day I or others can bring chickens to the place I live or other places like it.
 

DorothyH

Chirping
6 Years
Jan 7, 2014
86
10
94
Thank you for donating everyone that is. Hoping we will raise enough to fight against such craziness during a pandemic and such social unrest and supply chain disruption. Such selfishness on the behalf of the officials that are trying to get rid of people's food supply is horrifying. We should instead all be banding together to get through this together!
 

U_Stormcrow

Songster
Jun 7, 2020
352
586
113
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Typical Austin, growing worse as NIMBYs move in from far away. Lots of green talk, vaguely drafted ordinances allowing selective enforcement against those not currently in favor. Someone near you trying to sell their house??? Complaint likely triggered in an effort to protect their property values.

Hand the Code Enforcement guy a $20, and go about your day. He's simply seeking the "King's Tax".

Honestly, its Austin normal, and part of why I never lived w/i reach of its lawmaking (was in Bastrop, right next door, which is starting to trend that way). So I moved again.
 

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