Owning chickens illegally

Valormitch

In the Brooder
May 24, 2021
17
9
36
Hello all,



I love in a north suburb oh Chicago where chickens are not allowed. I have owned chickens in my backyard for a number of years but recently one of my neighbors a couple houses down posted online that they enjoy hearing chickens. This got me thinking, what if someone reported me? What are the penalties for owning chickens illegally?



Thank you
 
Hello all,



I love in a north suburb oh Chicago where chickens are not allowed. I have owned chickens in my backyard for a number of years but recently one of my neighbors a couple houses down posted online that they enjoy hearing chickens. This got me thinking, what if someone reported me? What are the penalties for owning chickens illegally?



Thank you
dont let them get u!
Sad In A Box GIF
 
A few months ago, in my town there was a lady who was fined for having chickens after her neighbors complained several times. 1st time was a warning, 2nd time they started to fine her $75 per day. After not paying the fines for a couple weeks, they came and got her and she had to spend the night in jail. A judge fussed at her and the chickens since then have mysteriously vanished. She no longer lives on the property she was at. A lady at my church was her landlord, and was totally shocked by the whole incident as she didn't know such a thing was possible or that her tenant had secret chickens at all. The story got written up in the newspaper. And yet, I know there are a lot of Mexicans who keep chickens illegally in another part of our town. I think it may depend on how sensitive the neighbors are to the sound/smell of birds and how quiet you can keep things. The police officer interviewed in the paper said they have a similar incident every year.
 
The penalties will be written into the laws (or at least, they should be...). As to how likely you are to actually get cited for 'illegally' owning chickens...who knows. Depends on your neighbors, your chicken-keeping habits, your local law enforcement/animal control and how bored they are, etc. It's definitely a 'do at your own risk' sort of thing. Like keeping pets other than fish in college dorms. Which I also totally have not done in the past.
 
Hello all,



I love in a north suburb oh Chicago where chickens are not allowed. I have owned chickens in my backyard for a number of years but recently one of my neighbors a couple houses down posted online that they enjoy hearing chickens. This got me thinking, what if someone reported me? What are the penalties for owning chickens illegally?



Thank you
Go to your cities website & look up ordinances. Animal control can answer your questions .
 
Many years ago when we first got into chickens, I hatched 3 Silkies and we built them a beautiful aviary in the backyard. The county/city had no rules against chickens and my mom owned the house on an acre lot.
Well, it turned out the area had a long defunct HOA which we had never heard of. No meetings were held or maintenance performed, no fees collected or papers signed. Turns out that doesn't kill a HOA's authority.
Our next-door neighbors resurrected the HOA and started sending us letters, which we ignored because we'd never signed anything. Then they called code enforcement, who couldn't find anything wrong with the Aviary or setback, but required it be inspected by an engineer. The engineer wanted us to add hurricane ties, so we did.
The HOA didn't let up and got code enforcement to send threatening letters about fining us every day we kept the birds.
That's when my mom talked to a lawyer, and we found out a little secret. They could keep us from having certain animals in the yard, but within the walls of a home the laws are different. Our attached garage counted as our home (a detached garage does not) as long as it was part of the approved building plans on file with the county.
I think it had to do with jurisdiction. It then fell to Animal Control as the only government agency that could prevent us having the chooks, and by their rules the animals must either be abused / neglected, or a prohibited exotic animal under federal or state laws.
They were powerless to stop us keeping the chickens or to enforce any fines since we moved them to the garage before the warning period expired.
My mom even made it onto the local news, advocating for backyard hens, with footage of our aviary and silkies set up in the garage! Lol
But containing them to a garage is a sucky way to keep chickens. We wanted them to have sunshine and grass and bugs. So we found them a nice country home at a leisurely pace.
Having soured on that neighborhood, and indeed the whole county, we sold the house and moved away to a more rural area.

Moral of the story: You can keep your birds "within the walls of your house" in a pinch to prevent them being seized or being fined. (provided the law hasn't changed, do check). But it's only a temporary measure. Keeping birds indoors, especially in your actual living space, is not recommended.
 

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