How does this sound? Letter to animal control.

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by tamlynn, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2008
    Torrance, CA
    Please let me know if this sounds okay and if I should change/add anything.

    This bb is the greatest!



    7 November 2008

    Animal Control Office
    2200 Jefferson
    Torrance, CA 90503

    Dear Officer T,

    This letter is a summary of our phone conversation on 6 November 2008 regarding the Notice of Complaint I was issued on 5 November 2008. It is my understanding that the original complaint was about noise but the notice stated that I was in violation of TMC 41.1.2. regarding farm animals being kept in the city. As we discussed, I believe that my Bantam chickens are not in violation of this code for two main reasons.

    First, I refer to TMC 41.6.3. and 41.6.4. which state that “rabbits, baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl” need proper brooder facilities and must be a certain age in order to be legally sold in the city. If these specific animals can be legally sold in Torrance, then it logically follows that the described animals may be legally purchased and kept by residents within the city.

    Second, addressing the terms “farm animals” and “unusual pets.” The TMC specifically addresses pigs (TMC 41.5.1.) and cows (TMC 41.7.1.) as being unlawful to own within the city, but does not state any other “farm type animals.” The terms “farm animal” and “unusual pets” are vague and subjective. In fact, one of the animals specifically listed in TMC 41.1.1.c. as an approved pet is a squirrel. I personally have never known anyone who owned, or any store that sold, pet squirrels and I certainly consider it unusual. Bantams and other fowl are quite popular pets and hobby animals in the United States.

    Bantams are dwarf, or miniature, chickens. They are very small, weighing one to two pounds. There are hundreds of varieties of Bantams and they are raised exclusively as pets and for show, never for meat or eggs, although all hens will lay eggs. As I explained to you on the phone, I hope that my children will be able to show the Bantams through the local 4-H poultry club (www.pvp4hclub.com) at the county fair.

    We discussed in our phone conversation the original complaint was about noise. I agreed that I had one Bantam hen that made too much noise and that I had already begun the process of finding her a new home. I am happy to report that I found a good home for her that same day with a 4-H leader, and I no longer own that animal. I currently own just one Bantam hen.

    I submit that I would like to keep on my property no more than three Bantam hens (females) at any given time for my children to raise as an educational hobby. I will not keep any roosters (males). Just like dogs, different breeds of chickens are known to have varying personality traits and typical behaviors. I intend to research breeds of Bantams that are known to be quiet and that thrive in properties similar to mine so that both the birds and our neighbors can get along.

    Both of my current next-door neighbors were aware I had Bantams as did several other households on my street and none had ever expressed any reservations to me. In fact, one next-door neighbor told me just three days before the complaint was issued that she had forgotten I had the Bantams and that she had never been bothered by any noise.

    I appreciate you looking into this matter. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact me.

    Sincerely,
     
  2. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    It’s a great letter, and I think it needs just some minor tweaking to be even more effective:
    1st paragraph:

    There should be a specific argument stating why you believe you are not in violation of 41.1.2 because that is the ordnance they’re using against you. Generally, the most effective arguments are made when you can refute every subsection of the ordnance, so in this case an argument might go like this:

    SECTION 41.1.2. ANIMALS KEPT ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY.
    (Amended by O-3397)

    The following uses are unlawful and a public nuisance:
    a) Keeping or maintaining more than three (3) small animals of any one kind or an aggregate total of four (4) small animals which are kept harbored or maintained after the weaning period of not to exceed nine (9) weeks on property used for residential purposes except as otherwise permitted in this Code and except with a Special Permit from the Director of Building and Safety as provided in Section 41.11.1.

    You did not have more than four chickens. However, it looks like they got you because you didn’t have a special permit (I alluded to this on a previous post) – so be prepared that you may end up needing one of these if they don’t accept the arguments in your letter.


    b) Keeping or maintaining animals which create objectionable odors or noises, if said odors or noises are substantially detrimental to adjacent residential units or properties. Such maintaining or keeping shall be substantially detrimental to residential units or properties if:

    Was your animal keeping “substantially detrimental”? That’s a pretty high standard, and I doubt this happened.


    1) Said odors or noises if they in fact unreasonably interfere with the comfortable or peaceful use of said property; or

    You can refute this by saying how often you cleaned out the coop.



    2) Cause a substantial diminution to adjoining property value or prevent its development; or

    The abutters need to prove this; just saying so doesn’t make it a fact. And I’m sure your chickens in no way prevented adjoining property from being developed.


    3) Constitute a health hazard because of its generation


    Related to the above; how can there be any health hazard when the chickens are properly cared for and yours are?


    Phyllis
     
  3. wyliefarms

    wyliefarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2008
    Fowlerville,MI
    Sounds good with the comments from the above post.
     
  4. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 22, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    As mentioned before the letter sounds good and I hope things work out for you. The only thing I can think of with the squirrels are the little sugar gliders that some pet stores sell or used to sell. They are a small flying squirrel and are very cute.
     
  5. MercyMomma

    MercyMomma New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2008
    I think the letter sounds great! I just wanted to make the comment that your argument about the squirrels is very valid in my mind. While sugar gliders do look a lot like squirrels and are often sold in pet stores they are actually in no way related to squirrels. Sugar gliders are marsupials and are related to the koala and the kangaroo which is why they have a little pouch to hold their young in. They are originally from Australia and live only in captivity in the U.S.

    ~Jenny
     
  6. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 5, 2008
    Torrance, CA
    Jenny, that is so good to know! I love getting facts.

    I am tweaking the letter.

    Phyllis, I really appreciate your comments. I was closely reading point "a" of the ordinance and it says that no more than 3 "small animals" of one kind may be kept. In the section right before 41.1.2 "small animals" are defined as dogs, cats and rabbits. So I guess that means I could have MORE than 3 chickens! lol. I really don't want more than that.

    Oh and also, rabbits are FARMED for meat and fur. So is it possible a particular breed of an animal could be a farm animal and another type of the same animal a pet?

    Deep thoughts for animal control officers and city officials.
     
  7. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Yes - precisely. It's a persuasive argument that different types or breeds of the same animal can be pets or farm animals, depending on their intended purpose. Banty's are not farm animals, even though they happen be chickens. Farm animals are bred and kept for a food or work purposes, and banty's are show birds because their small size really doesn't make them good economic candidates for egg production or meat, so how can they be farm animals? Border collies are also farm animals, but plenty of them never even get near a sheep! [​IMG]

    I can also give you an example of this distinction from my own town: Westwood's animal bylaws carve out an exception for pot bellied pigs: they are classified as pets. So people who have a pot bellied pig do not need an animal keeping permt, but if they kept any other type of pig they would require a permit.

    Phyllis
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  8. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    174
    2
    121
    Nov 5, 2008
    Torrance, CA
    Okay, this is what I mailed in today. If you see a typo, DONT TELL ME! lol. I agonized enough over this and just wanted to get the letter sent. Thanks again to everyone who helped me.


    7 November 2008

    Animal Control Office
    2200 Jefferson
    Torrance, CA 90503

    Dear Officer T,

    This letter is a summary of our phone conversation on 6 November 2008 regarding the Notice of Complaint I was issued on 5 November 2008. The notice stated that I was in violation of TMC 41.1.2. regarding farm animals being kept in the city, but as you explained to me, the original complaint was actually about noise. As we discussed, I believe that my Bantam chickens are not in violation of this code for three main reasons.

    First, TMC 41.1.2 states several regulations for keeping animals on residential property including that animals shall not cause noise that is “substantially detrimental” to adjacent properties. I agreed that I had one Bantam hen that in my own opinion made too much noise and that I had already begun the process of finding her a new home. I do not agree that the noise was “substantially detrimental” or did “unreasonably interfere with the comfortable or peaceful use” of any adjacent property. I am happy to report that on the same day as our phone conversation I found a good home for the loud Bantam with a 4-H leader, and I no longer own that animal. I currently own just one Bantam hen.

    Second, I refer to TMC 41.6.3. and 41.6.4. which state that “rabbits, baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl” need proper brooder facilities and must be a certain age in order to be legally sold in the city. If these specific animals can be legally sold in Torrance, then it logically follows that the described animals may be legally purchased and kept by residents within the city. Therefore, “rabbits, baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl” should not be considered “farm animals.”

    Third, addressing the TMC terms “farm animals” and “unusual pets.” The terms “farm animal” and “unusual pets” are vague and subjective. Certain breeds of rabbits, for example, are farmed for meat and fur, but other rabbit breeds are exclusively kept as pets. All rabbits are regarded by the city as acceptable pets even though one could consider them “farm animals.” The TMC specifically addresses pigs (TMC 41.5.1.) and cows (TMC 41.7.1.) as being unlawful to keep within the city, but does not describe any other “farm type animals.” One of the animals specifically listed in TMC 41.1.1.c. as an approved pet is a squirrel. I personally have never known anyone who owned, or any store that sold, pet squirrels and I certainly consider them an unusual pet. Bantams and other fowl are quite popular pets and hobby animals throughout the United States.

    Bantams are dwarf, or miniature, chickens. They are very small, weighing one to two pounds. There are hundreds of varieties of Bantams and they are raised exclusively as pets and for show, never farmed for meat or eggs, although all hens will lay eggs. As I explained to you on the phone, I hope that my children will be able to show the Bantams through the local 4-H poultry club (www.pvp4hclub.com) at the county fair.

    I submit that I would like to keep on my property no more than three Bantam hens (females) at any given time for my children to raise as an educational hobby. I will not keep any roosters (males). Just like dogs, different breeds of Bantams are known to have varying personality traits and typical behaviors. I intend to research breeds of Bantams that are known to be quiet and that thrive on residential properties similar to mine so that both the birds and our neighbors can get along.

    Both of my current next-door neighbors were aware I had Bantams as did several other households on my street and none had ever expressed any reservations to me. In fact, one next-door neighbor told me just three days before the complaint was issued that she had forgotten I had the Bantams and that she had never been bothered by any noise.

    I appreciate you looking into this matter. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact me.

    Sincerely,
     
  9. Geez, I am so glad I live in the country. Heck, you can shoot your own dog in your front yard if ya want to. I lived in the subs for too many years. If I had known what I know now, I would have made living in the city and lived on a small farmette.
     
  10. tamlynn

    tamlynn Chillin' With My Peeps

    174
    2
    121
    Nov 5, 2008
    Torrance, CA
    lol. Yeah, I grew up in the country, and all these rules and regs are exasperating.
     

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