1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Help! My subdivision is suing me!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by RoyalCoopMom, May 29, 2016.

  1. RoyalCoopMom

    RoyalCoopMom Chirping

    Feb 13, 2015
    St Louis
    I have had a small backyard flock for about a year now. The subdivision trustee's have gotten wind of my pets and are now suing me, demanding I "dispose" of my chickens. The thing is, the way I read it the indentures allow pets in limited numbers so I think I'm Ok. Still they are pursuing this to court. I did find a lawyer in town who has successfully defended chicken owners against Home Owner associations so I am hopeful we will win but if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears! I opened a GoFundMe site to fund our defense. Here's the link. Please share our story with anyone you think might be willing to help!


    Backyard chickens is an awesome group and was pivotal in helping this city girl establish her first flock. Thanks for all the support!

    1 person likes this.

  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    Are they your Therapy Chickens? I know folk use chickens for therapy animals.
  3. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chirping

    That's rough. I passed on several houses when we were house hunting because they were in HOA.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Chickens are livestock not pets. You can treat them and name them like pets but there is no getting around the definition of livestock in a court of law.
    1 person likes this.
  5. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chirping

    You can get around anything now. Nothing has actual meaning except ones own perception apparently. But the OP didn't say if the bylaws and covenants explicitly prohibit livestock in general or poultry explicitly. Chickens are a bird, parakeets are birds. Unless they explicitly banned "livestock" and even then explicitly mention "poultry" as included in that definition, there is an argument that can be made. Now if they have a prohibition on outbuildings that were not preapproved, possibly even including doghouses etc, then that would actually be harder to fight. But I wouldn't count on an HOA being reasonable in either case.

    Just be polite, make your case clearly, bring in evidence for hens being less of a nuisance than dogs (ex. lower decibels for normal noises, quiet at night, less likely to get out from proper confinement, don't cause serious injury), cite the numbers of cities large and small that have passed reasonable chicken ordinances (NYC, LA, Sacremento I think have them) and especially any cities, counties, or municipalities that have recently made provisions for keeping chickens, and provide documentation of your sanitary and human living conditions for the birds.
    1 person likes this.
  6. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Songster

    May 18, 2016
    Valley of the Sun :)

    when i read the terms.. it's pretty clear that chickens are not allowed.. Poultry was pretty much it for me.

    i think there was a case about a family keeping a pig as a pet.

    no offense to the original poster.. but knowing it is not allowed and still do it anyway..often will ended up like this (a legal battle).

    the lawyer and case you mentioned -- was it another homeowner in the same community as you? since each community will have their own HOA so their rules and regulations can vary

    well.. good luck to you

  7. IvanTsary

    IvanTsary Chirping

    Would waterfowl be different than poultry? You could swap chickens for ducks. They might even ask you to switch back!
    Last edited: May 31, 2016

  8. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Songster

    May 18, 2016
    Valley of the Sun :)
    poultry is a pretty broad term

    it covers pretty much domestic birds that people raise for meat or eggs..

    still i'm curious about the legal battle.. please keep us update on this.. a picture of the court's verdict will do.
  9. TroyerGal

    TroyerGal Songster

    Mar 17, 2016
    The Coal State
    We got our HOA rules changed like, a year after we moved in :) im so sorry that people are suing you for such a trivial thing! Is is even bothering anyone? Our mindset was, if its our property... and we bought it. We can have animals!
  10. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Songster

    May 18, 2016
    Valley of the Sun :)
    attend the meets and gather signatures can help

    but it will depends on your HOA

    there are HOAs made of investors.. so good luck changing those greedy #$#$# mind

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by