HELP! I don't want to get rid of my fuzzy flock! (Brandon, FL)

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by BonnieGC, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. BonnieGC

    BonnieGC New Egg

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    So, I've been keeping backyard chickens for over a year (I have Sizzles and a Silky). When I had tried looking up local laws on the Hillsborough County website I couldn't find ANYTHING about chickens.

    I live in Unincorporated Hillsborough County (Brandon, FL)

    There were already chickens in my neighborhood and I knew that the city of Tampa allowed them so I went ahead and got 2 Sizzle chics.

    My 2 Sizzles has now grown to a flock of them. I watched them hatch while I was pregnant with my now 4 month old son. All of them were raised IN my house. They all have names. They are my PETS with benefits!

    My neighbors love the chickens and even give them treats. Other neighbors also have chickens.

    My chickens can't fly and are confined to my yard with a coop they get locked up in at night.

    I Do NOT leave feed out for them. All their feed is in closed containers and I go outside twice a day to give them some while they free range my backyard.

    Now the problem is that my neighbors that love my chickens are having problems with their Landlord. There are rats that are getting into their house (I have had no rats in MY house but I have seen them outside at night). They complained to their Landlord about the rats, palmetto bugs, their leaking roof and the mold that is growing because of it. Instead of doing something about their renters' complaints the Landlord blamed MY CHICKENS! Believe me buddy, my chickens are not the reason there are rats... the rats where around first and I'm pretty sure that my chickens have KILLED one.

    The Code Enforcer sympathizes with me and said he doesn't bother with people keeping chickens and the only reason he had to do something is that someone complained about them. He said that Hillsborough County does not allow chickens in residential areas. (Even if I am kinda back in the boonies it seems, surrounded by other people's chickens.)

    I asked him if there was ANYTHING I could do to keep my PET chickens and he told me to call him back and leave my info that there was a meeting tomorrow that he was going to and he'd ask then if there was anything I could do.

    So, I'm begging that if there is anyone out there that knows some info etc that I can provide to help fight for my fuzzy comedians please help!



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    Ignore the date stamp on the photos.. I forgot to reset it on the camera.. lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  2. rweyant

    rweyant New Egg

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    I live in seminole county fl and just recently hd to give up my babies. The law here says you can have them if the coop is 150 feet from the lot line. Unfortunately I wwould have to own the whole block to do that.
     
  3. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    See if you can get a copy of the EXACT law. Sometimes it's a matter of wording or interpritation. Sometimes it's more of a building code thing. Like if it says 'livestock'; that can be interperated as hooved stock only. If it says 'farm animals', you can make the argument that your birds are ornimental and not farm birds. It's all about finding the loopholes and angles.

    Edit to add-

    Also, sometimes if the complainer goes away so does the interest in your birds. Sounds like the landlord's actions could be construed as defimation if he's saying you're being so sloppy with the feed as to attract rats. I don't know all the circumstances surounding this and I hate the legal and direct approach in this sense, but the threat of a suit might get him to shut up.

    Good luck. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  4. BonnieGC

    BonnieGC New Egg

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    Well, the "neighbor" that complained doesn't even live in the same County as me, he's renting the property to a neighbor who LOVES my chickens but has problems with the landlord not taking proper care of the property.

    I've had the chickens for over a year and, even with a crowing rooster, not a single person has complained to me. Most people love them and think they are really neat and are even amused by the rooster's crows.

    If you ask me the crowing rooster is FAR less annoying (and less dangerous) than my neighbors' annoying baying hound dogs. At least the rooster doesn't crow in the middle of the night!

    Like I said, when I originally got the chickens I TRIED to look up whether or not there was an ordinance in Hillsborough County for them but I couldn't find anything referring to them under the Animals Ordinance and couldn't find any other reference. I knew that City allowed them and I knew there were already chickens being kept in my neighborhood.

    Unfortunately I have a 4 month old baby atm and its difficult for me to spend a lot of time looking things up atm so I was hoping that some people here may have had to fight for their flock and might have some pointers as to how I can go about fighting the "infraction".

    I have not heard back from the Code Enforcement Officer yet. He had said there was supposed to be a meeting tonight and he would bring up the the idea of changing the ordinance and get back to me on what I could do but I'm afraid I may have to fight for it.

    As far as I am concerned its an outdated concept. My chickens ARE ornamental and pets; they are NOT meat chickens and they lay small eggs. If I wanted them purely for food purposes I wouldn't have a bantam type. Besides, I think I have the right to have chickens to provide me with eggs just like I can have a garden in my yard. I had meant to even look into showing my Sizzle Roo and Hen and my vaulted skull Silkie hens that are the Sizzle Roo's daughters with my Silkie hen. They are gorgeous birds; although the poor hens' poof balls on their heads are so fluffy they can hardly see.. lol.. they need their Rooster to protect them! (I've debated going out with a small pair of scissors and trimming the poof ball around the hens' eyes after watching one of them run into my rain barrel. lol)

    The rats were around Before I got my chickens and I think you could just as easily blame the rats on my neighbor who has at least 5 hunting dogs as you can my chickens. I live near the river, there's wildlife...

    From what I've read a lot of chickens will KILL snakes and mice etc if they catch them and since my feed is being kept in sealed containers that the rats/mice can't get into and I don't leave feed out I'm not sure how I'm contributing to the presence.

    I think owning chickens should be treated just like any other domestic pet. Keep it in your own yard and give it proper care.

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  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Chickens might kill baby rats, but are very unlikely to be ablt to take on an adult. You need to call county enforcement and ask them to provide you with a copy of the law, or an online listing of it, that says that chickens are not allowed in residential neighborhoods. It may be a zoning use (likely is since you could not find anything in the animal control ordinances).

    Consider writing up a petition for all your neghbors to sign saying that they have no problems with you having chickens. Better would be for each of them to write a letter, but this is less effort on their part.

    If there are other issues about the landlord not keeping up the property, your neighbor needs to research landlord tenant laws. The tenant also needs to maintain the property so that it will not harbor pests. They need to read their lease and see what if any specific responsibilities it requires of them. Bait stations are relatively easy to make and use, and very effective at controlling rats. Eliminating nesting places is also necessary.
     
  6. phydo

    phydo New Egg

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    I can not find a law specifically prohibiting the raising of chickens in Hillsborough county. Do you have a link to the law? If not would you mind posting it up here or sending me a message with it? I also live in the county and I also have a few chickens. It's hard to believe that you can have them in the city limits but no in the county. Sounds pretty boneheaded to me. Especially in light of today's economy.__
     

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