Help with data to get law changed

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by asrobinson, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. asrobinson

    asrobinson New Egg

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    Jul 9, 2010
    Ogden, Utah
    Hi,
    I am new to the forum but have kept 2-7 bantam hens for about 5 years up until February when we received a code violation notice from the city. Long story short, we've been trying to get the ordinance changed and the City Council has had a new ordinance written up which would allow 6 hens by permit. This ordinance went before the Planning commission this week and they did not recommend that the Council pass it. This recommendation is not binding so we still have some hope when the City Council brings it up for discussion. Here's where I need help: Their main concern was that allowing chickens would overwhelm our understaffed animal control/code enforcement division and would be costly in terms of the increased number of chickens detained and needing to be kept in the county animal shelter. They seem to think that the number of chickens being kept in the city would increase exponentially (animal control estimates 8X) and that, therefore, the number of calls about chickens that they would have to go to would also increase by that amount.

    I am looking for data from cities that have changed their ordinances to allow chickens. Have the number of "fowl incidents" increased? How much has it cost the city in terms of animal control? If you have any of these numbers or can help guide me to where I can find them, please let me know.

    We miss our girls and hope to be able to get them back soon.
    Thanks,
    Ami
     
  2. Arcane Araucana

    Arcane Araucana Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Fort Mohave
    that's one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard! What's the cost of the permit? It's a revenue opportunity that should abate some of the cost for additional calls. I'll take a look around and see what I can find.
     
  3. Arcane Araucana

    Arcane Araucana Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Fort Mohave
  4. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  5. Arcane Araucana

    Arcane Araucana Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Fort Mohave
  6. Arcane Araucana

    Arcane Araucana Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Fort Mohave
    this is extracted right out of the Research Packet on the Salem Chickens website:

    One councilor cited fighting among neighbors and the resulting number of complaints as the primary reason for voting against a chicken-keeping ordinance. Public officials in cities where chicken ordinances have been in effect for years, all indicate that this has not been the case. In fact, the evidence suggests the number of complaints would go down if Salem were to implement the proposed ordinance.

    Eugene, a city comparable in size to Salem and where hens are allowed, received just 11 chicken-related complaints in 2008. The City of Madison receives just 10 complaints a year and describes the enforcement burden as minimal. In our neighboring capital city, Olympia, Washington, the number of complaints dwindled to less than five after they passed the ordinance to allow chickens, according to Code Compliance Officer, Georgia Sabol (Appendix G).

    Salem received 29 chicken-related complaints in 2008. Even Portland, a city nearly four times larger than Salem and known to have more chickens per capita than any other U.S. city, receives just 10 more complaints than we currently do here in Salem.

    We believe Salem receives nearly three times as many complaints as cities of equal size, where chickens are permitted, because our current ordinance is ambiguous. A citizen who looks into the legality of chicken-keeping here will see that the Salem Revised Code does not mention chickens specifically. Then they will discover that a 100-pound pig is permitted in the city. Given this, and the fact that chickens are permitted in nearby cities like Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene, they are likely to assume keeping chickens is okay. This results in people keeping chickens illegally and without guidelines to follow, resulting in complaints that the city must respond to.

    We believe a clearly written ordinance that permits a limited number of egg-laying hens and specifically prohibits roosters will result in less confusion and fewer complaints, ultimately costing the city less time and money.

    When clear and specific chicken policies are available, cities experience fewer problems.

    Alderperson Marsha Rummel in Madison, Wisconsin reports: "Our ordinance has not proved to be problematic or costly in terms of enforcement" (Appendix G).
    Commissioner Randy Leonard in Portland states: "We have not experienced any significant problems relating to reduced property values or threats to public health as a result of hens co-existing with city residents" (Appendix F).

    Code Compliance Officer, Georgia Sabol in Olympia, Washington said: “We in code enforcement were not keen on the chickens being allowed. However, that attitude has completely changed” (Appendix G).
    It is unreasonable and unfair to assume that Salem residents are somehow less capable of keeping chickens then citizens in these other cities. Cities that allow Chickens Population Complaints/Yr
    Portland 529,121 39
    Madison 223,389 10
    Eugene 137,893 11
    Olympia 42,514 <5
    Lake Oswego 36,698 0
     
  7. asrobinson

    asrobinson New Egg

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    Jul 9, 2010
    Ogden, Utah
    Wow! This is exactly the kind of information I was hoping for.

    I should call the animal control officers of nearby towns that allow chickens to see if I can obtain similar data.

    Thanks!
    Ami
     
  8. Whitewater

    Whitewater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 18, 2010
    I don't know if you can use this because it's just anecdotal (and I have no way to prove it for you, sorry!) but I live in Saint Paul MN -- quite a large city -- and when I was going through the permit process the animal control officer I was talking to one day mentioned that complaints about chickens were and I quote "negligible" and that of the very few they responded to, ALL of them were noise complaints because of illegal roosters. St. Paul does not allow roosters.

    The officer also told me that it's never the people who follow the legal process who have problems with AC getting called, it's ALWAYS those who don't follow the legal process. This seems to be true in my own experience as well, immediately after we moved in, the neighbors across the alley had a single chicken (I couldn't identify it then, but now, looking back, I think it was a barred rock rooster -- a young one, since its crow was pretty quiet) and they didn't go through the legal process for a permit, nor did they provide any shelter or food or water for the poor thing, or even get it a friend. They were bad chicken owners!

    The chicken eventually disappeared and I learned well after the fact that somebody had called Animal Control because of the "constant crowing" -- I never heard any crowing at all -- and they had come and taken it away.

    I suspect that the neighbors really called AC because the people who owned the chickens don't have a fence around their property and the chicken used to wander wherever it wanted, including into other people's yards and gardens. Yikes!

    Anyway, hope that helps!


    Whitewater
     
  9. Arcane Araucana

    Arcane Araucana Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 14, 2010
    Fort Mohave
    Quote:You really need to check out the Salem Chickens site. They have tons of information. There is also a great section on dispelling the "myths" of chicken ownership. BTW - where are your girls now? Foster care?
     
  10. asrobinson

    asrobinson New Egg

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    Jul 9, 2010
    Ogden, Utah
    I've been spending a lot of time at the Salem Chickens website. Great information! I am going to rework their informational packet to produce one to pass around here. I have a meeting planned for Tuesday with other "Chicken activists" to plan our strategy and divide tasks. We may not have much time before this comes before the City Council so we have to keep moving on it. We need to get a reporter form the local paper interested as well. So much to do...

    My girls have been at a foster home about 20 minutes away since February. They are well loved , we get to visit, and we still get some of their eggs but it is not the same. They are so well loved that we may have to leave at least some of them there when and if we get to bring them home.

    Thanks again for all the support.
    Ami
     

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