HELP! My chickens are being evicted!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by River's Momma, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. River's Momma

    River's Momma New Egg

    Dec 31, 2009
    Hi, I have been reading, observing and visiting this site for about a year. Last spring we took the plunge and bought our first chickens. We have been enjoying the wonderment they add to our scenery and the farm fresh - organic eggs. We started this adventure because we were needing to cut down on the cost of life and eating organic. We love our girls. We have 5 lovely ladies. They make very little noise, are in a very private area of our yard and are content. We have had them since last spring. We have never had a complaint. Our neighbors, the only residents who are adjacent to our property own chickens too.
    We live in a small farming town, about 500 people. Chickens are not allowed. Many people in town have and own chickens. Our property is secluded most of the year, we have a creek in back, a dead end street which just ourselves and our neighbors live off of in front, and govt easement to our one side.
    We got a letter in the mail today from the towns attorney (the fact we have an attorney amazes me...we have gone without a mayor more than once). The letter stated that my chickens need to be removed by January 29th, 2010. I am in shock. I have never even been notified of a complaint. Mind you, our town is littered with unfenced, unchained, nuisance of which bit my husband while walking down our driveway one day....but yet their focus is on my chickens.
    What can I do? Can I fight this? At this point I am determined to move my chickens to a different part of my yard and hide them til spring....most of the year no-one can even see our yard the woods are so thick. Please help!

  2. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Well the first thing to do is investigate why you received the letter in the first place. Make a list of questions you want to ask and then refer to it when you visit the town office. ex. 1. was there a complaint made. 2. who made it. 3 are you in violation of the zoning law. 4. has it just been changed. 5. who would you talk to about getting it changed. 6. can you apply for a special permit.
    Did you check the zoneing laws before you got the chickens? Did you report the dog bite incident? This is important to establish your case of poultry friendliness etc. etc. Unite with fellow poultry owners to change existing laws.
    Backyard Poultry magazines volume 4 no. 6 , Decenmber 2009/January 2010 issue has an article on "How to legalize hens in you community". Get it and read it.
    Be professional but find out how many dog bites have been reported. If necessary get an attorney for advice even if you need to personally file papers with the local whoever office. I wish you all the best.
    Finally don't give them attitude, you want them to like you and take your side.

    " A chip on the shoulder means there's wood up above. "
    " You can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar" ( I never understood this one cuz who wants to catch flies?)
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  3. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    The first thing I would do is ask my fellow chickie neighbor if they too are being targeted.

    If you both got this letter, then who the heck is complaining? No one else lives near you, so who could possibly have seen them and been offended? Unless it was someone you invited into your home, a frightening thought, then just who the heck managed to figure that your yard is in any way a nuisance to them?

    If ONLY you got this note, and not your neighbor, then why the heck not? If someone complained about chickens then why only YOUR chickens? Unless it was the neighbor who did the complaining then that makes no sense. If it's the city trying to deal with ALL chickens then why didn't the neighbor get the note too?

    Totally agree with what Hicks posted, but I'd also be asking the above too.

    Since you are already aware of the laws, knew they weren't allowed, but did it anyways it's going to be a hard fight to prove you didn't knowingly do anything wrong. Besides that if the laws are clear, not a loophole in sight, then you're in for a fight. At this point I think the first thing I would do is contact them and ask for more time. Site books, or even a local vet maybe, that could testify to the fact that moving stresses the birds any time, but that doing so in harsh weather will make it worse. And that stress alone has been known to kill birds, not just chickens but also OTHER pet birds like parrots, etc. Finding a home for your birds that will be SAFE should be a priority to anyone in Animal Services, but since these are your PETS that is your PRIMARY concern. You do not want to send your beloved pets somewhere that will offer unsanitary conditions, unsafe conditions, etc that would surely result in their death. They wouldn't expect you to just dump your parrot on someone's doorstep, they shouldn't expect you to do so with your chickens either.
  4. Spore

    Spore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2009
    Contest the claim, ask for evidence. You can delay that date by many many many months. In the mean time drum up support from your friends in the community and go to a town hall meeting together. In Portland Oregon you can have 3 hens and it is a major metro city. Your situation sounds quite rural and the law needs to change. There is no need to fear an unjust law, you are in the right. Get the law removed, not your hens!
  5. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Everyone here is right. I just want to add one thing:

    Don't go in there breathing fire and brimstone. Be cool. Be courteous and friendly. Ask your questions and listen to the answers as if nothing was more important than being a law abiding citizen. And when someone in government listens to you be thankful to them. Don't send gifts -- they look like bribes -- but a little thank you card will get you miles down the road.

    City employees are usually trying to do their job honestly -- assume that this is true, even if, inside, you want to march into the city hall with a shotgun and a megaphone and a mob.

    The latest issue of Backyard Poultry has an article about changing the laws to favor chickens. Get it and read it -- there's a lot of good stuff there.

    Hang out in this section of BYC and read EVERYTHING![​IMG]

    And keep the rest of us posted on your progress. The folks in this web site are WAAAY cool![​IMG]
  6. Spore

    Spore Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2009
    well said possumqueen.[​IMG]
  7. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    River's Momma :

    Chickens are not allowed. Many people in town have and own chickens.

    Did your mom ever say, if Johnny jumps off the bridge would you do it also, Two wrongs dont make a right. and Dont put your cart before the Horse?

    My thought is you went into this venture knowing that they were not allowed, so why are you suprised that you got caught. Drive up and down a secluded road at 90 mph and eventually someone will notice. I would sudjest you check into getting varience, but dont be surprised if your told no, or it will take a couple months and that in the mean time you are breaking the law, and knowingly doing so. So be ready to pay a hefty fine if you continue to keep them. [​IMG]

    Quote:Ask for evidence? She admits to having hens Portland Has A LAW that allows hens, her town regardless of size does not. How can OP be right, when she admits to knowing that chickens are not allowed, its the LAW. Just or unjust, it is the law so until it is changed, she is breaking it.​
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  8. cluck-addict

    cluck-addict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    1. FInd out if your neighbors got the letters too!
    2. what is the reason for the letter. You only stated that they must be removed by 1.29.10. What reason did they give?

    Good Luck,
  9. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Quote:Did your mom ever say, if Johnny jumps off the bridge would you do it also, Two wrongs dont make a right.

    True, you do need to follow the letter of the law, perhaps you can change the law and be allowed chickens, it does take some work - good luck!

    I also live in a tiny town, but we're outside the city limits so don't need to worry about any of that stuff.
  10. dntd

    dntd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2009
    Our area has lifted the ban for our whole region due to the economic down turn. Our city never had any laws made but the city over now is allowed to own 10 hens, no roosters though.

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