I need help to keep my chickens!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by angelnina, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. angelnina

    angelnina Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2008
    Seattle area
    We live in unincorporated Snohomish Cty and chickens are allowed. We were just notified that the area is being annexed to become part of the city of Lynnwood, WA. Lynnwood does NOT allow chickens.

    We don't know what to do. I was told to write to elected officials and try to change the law, but I need help from people who are better at writing letters or can refer me to an online letter or site that gives good reasons for keeping chickens. We have 5 hens and no roosters.

    I am surprised in this day and age that chickens are not allowed--at least a few per lot--considering going "green" is so popular these days. The chickens give us the eggs we eat and fertilizer we need for our three vegetable gardens--not to mention, they're great pets and easy to care for.

    Can somebody direct me to a site or give me ideas as to what I can do to keep our chickens?
     
  2. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    Minnesota
    Is there a law since you have them already where they can be grandfathered in?
     
  3. mthrclckr

    mthrclckr Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area, CA
    Hi!

    I'm sorry I can't help about the legal stuff, but do you know if you might be protected by a grandfather clause? This will allow you to keep the birds that you already have, but it won't cover any future birds that you want to get, so ideally, you do want to change the law. Another thing is this: if your neighbors don't complain, you'll be okay. I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to keep chickens at all (I know I signed a "no noisy fowl" thing when we bought this house) and when we were robbed, I asked the cop that came over if I would be in trouble for keeping the chickens. He just chuckled and said that they're only a problem if the neighbors complain to the city. The people who work for the city don't drive around looking for things to cite you on. It's usually that a neighbor anonymously complains and some inspector come out to tell you to deal with the problem. I think the second time, they fine you (only if they receive the same complaint) and they REALLY don't want to have to do more than that, but I guess animal control can get involved if needed.

    Sometimes you can appease your neighbors with free, fresh eggs [​IMG] .

    Hope you get some clear-cut answers to this, though. I'm *constantly* worried that somebody's going to rat me out, but I gave letters to my immediate neighbors with our phone number and e-mail address and asked that they let US know if the rooster crowing bothers them and we would do whatever was necessary to work around their schedule. So far, not a word [​IMG] !

    Good luck!

    -Naomi
     
  4. angelnina

    angelnina Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2008
    Seattle area
    MagsC: We are hoping for the grandfathering clause. Husband is ready to move farther out into the country. There are so many limitations to living within city limits. Most people hear their property taxes will be slightly less, but they don't understand that business licensing and costs of permits, and change of town mailing address can also effect the market value of their homes. We have a separate mailing address to the town of Edmonds where market value is higher.

    Thanks for the input. I need all the suggestions I can get.
     
  5. angelnina

    angelnina Out Of The Brooder

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    May 13, 2008
    Seattle area
    MTHRCLCKR: I am torn between showing up at the meetings and outing myself as the "chicken lady" ha! and simply ignoring the changes.

    I do, however, feel with the change in our economy that cities should be more understanding about self sustainable living. I would think they would want to attract people with the whole going "green" living that seems to be popular these days.

    My neighbors (closest to the chickens side) have commented on how much they like the chickens, and that they're not a bother at all. I have shared my garden goodies with them, and now that the girls are laying, I'd love to share some eggs too. They have also stated that they would like to own chickens as well.

    The neighbors on two other sides may not even be aware we have chickens, but we have had no complaints, and still get the waves and nods as we drive by.

    We gave up our rooster (even though, at this time, they are allowed) because we didn't want to disturb our neighbors. I gave away the first weekend he crowed.

    Thanks so much for your input. If you know of any good arguments for keeping chickens versus all the stuff they'll throw at me about "noise" and "filth", please let me know. I will never understand why the dog down the road can bark from 5 am until 10 pm, and poop all over the place, but somehow my chickens can be considered a nuisance. At least my chicken's manure is put to good use.

    PS Nothing against dogs, I love my dog [​IMG]
     
  6. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    [​IMG] I am sorry you are being annexed, I love the Snohomish area. I think you are on the right track, giving up the roo was a good idea since he would be noisy and is not needed for eggs. It is also good you are getting on well with your neighbors. Both Seattle and Portland are very chicken freindly cities near you that allow chickens as pets. Read their rules and regulations on keeping chickens for ideas.

    Also both areas have very proactive groups that are interested in environmentally sound sustainable city living. Seattle Tilth is the closest to you (they have a website). They have "City Chicken 101 and 102" [​IMG] classes on having chickens for eggs in the city as well as a very well publicized and attended yearly "coop tour". You could contact them, maybe take a class, and meet other chicken owners, garner a lot of fairly local support, ideas, and contacts.
     
  7. mthrclckr

    mthrclckr Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area, CA
    Recently, it seems that the old adage "No good deed goes unpunished" rings true all too often. I'm one of those people who can't lie to save my life. But I also don't offer information where it's not sought, so I never applied for permits or whatever is needed to keep chickens legally. What you decide to do, YOU have to live with, so don't necessarily do what *I* would do. But since your neighbors seem to be fine with your keeping the chickens, I just wouldn't say anything. If the changing of county divisions is not being made a huge deal, or nobody's saying "All chicken keepers must report to the city council on so-and-so date so we can harass you henceforth," then it doesn't seem worthwhile to inform anybody of something that will probably never be an issue.

    A few posts down, somebody tried to do the "right" thing and get permits to keep ONE rabbit and ONE hen. She's had to give up both. What her city council is doing is certainly wrong and downright ignorant, and unfortunately, it almost justifies one's choice to do the "wrong" thing (by not saying ANYTHING). That's really the most tragic thing of all. This has done nothing but to teach her daughter that bad things happen when you inform anybody of anything. None of their neighbors are speaking out in their defense probably because they're now scared that they'll be forced to give up *their* beloved pets.

    If you ever do get a visit from city inspectors, just tell them that you assumed your chickens were protected by a grandfather clause and ask them to justify anything otherwise. Tell them that they're your pets AND you rely on their eggs [​IMG] . Hey, it's true when you see how much eggs cost these days!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    -Naomi
     

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