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Please help me interpret the ordinances in Miamisburg, OH.

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by jenmamahen, May 16, 2010.

  1. jenmamahen

    jenmamahen In the Brooder

    May 8, 2009
    Miamisburg, OH
    Hi! I live within the city limits, and am trying to understand our city ordinances regarding chickens. When I looked up the Animal Ordinances, this is what I found:

    No person shall own or harbor any wild or exotic animal.
    (1) Exceptions to this prohibition are touring animal exhibitions, circuses,
    veterinarians (for the purpose of medical treatment), educational research
    facilities, aid for handicapped persons or persons licensed or permitted by the
    (2) Animals which may be owned or harbored are those animals native to the farm,
    such as horses, cattle, swine and poultry, as well as domestic cats, domestic dogs,
    domestic rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchilla, mice, hamsters, gerbils, psittacine birds
    or noncarnivorous fish.

    The only other reference to chickens in the Animal Ordinances is this one:

    (a) No person shall dye or otherwise color any rabbit or baby poultry, including, but not
    limited to, chicks and ducklings. No person shall sell, offer for sale, expose for sale, raffle or
    give away any rabbit or baby poultry which has been dyed or otherwise colored. No poultry
    younger than four weeks of age shall be sold, given away or otherwise distributed to any person
    in lots of less than six. Stores, shops, vendors and others offering young poultry for sale or other
    distribution shall provide and operate brooders or other heating devices that may be necessary to
    maintain poultry in good health, and shall keep adequate food and water available to the poultry
    at all times.

    When I looked at the Planning and Zoning Ordinances, I found this:

    AGRICULTURE: The use of land for farming, dairying, pasturage, apiculture,
    horticulture, floriculture, viticulture and animal and poultry husbandry and the
    necessary uses for packing, treating or storing the produce, provided, however,
    A. The operation of any such accessory uses shall be secondary to that of
    normal agriculture activities; and
    B. The above uses shall not include the feeding or sheltering of animals or
    poultry in penned enclosures within 100 feet of any residential zoning
    district. Agriculture does not include the feeding of garbage to animals or
    the operation or maintenance of a commercial stockyard or feedyard.

    So I'm guessing that based on the zoning ordinance, chickens are a no-go. However, I'm looking for a loophole. My hubby suggested that since the ordinance forbids feeding or sheltering animals in a penned enclosure, it would be ok to have chickens living cage free in our backyard. [​IMG] I was wondering if a moveable pen, like a chicken tractor would get around the laws or not. I'm also not sure why they don't address chicken ownership in the animal ordinance section, other than to say that you can't dye them, and to point out that they aren't exotic animals, and therefore are allowed. These seem contradictory to me.

    Any insight or feedback would help.

  2. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

    Oct 8, 2009
    From the 1st ordinance I would say you could have chickens and if you are not raising them for a business like raising birds for meat to sale, then you should be able to have a small back yard flock I think the last ordinance if for large business not small back yard flocks. that is the way I read it hopefully someone else can see if they see something else.
  3. vstoltzfus

    vstoltzfus Songster

    Aug 10, 2009
    Lancaster County, PA
    Do you live in or within 100 feet of the residential zoning district? You said you live within the city limits, but does that mean you're in the residential zoning district? You should be able to look up the zoning districts for Miamisburg online. If you are, then it does read like you can't have poultry. Let us know how it works out.
  4. Penturner

    Penturner Songster

    Feb 1, 2010
    Reno Nevada
    I could be wrong, But I also work for the State. I am pretty used to the Government speak.

    First of all Chickens are allowed and they are even specifically listed under what is allowed in section (2) of your first ordinance.

    Your second ordinance has to due more with laws in how animals are treated and that sort of thing. Specifically it is intended to contend with the practice of people dying and selling single chicks to people that have no idea how to care for them during the holidays. Most common at Easter. It also says you cannot sell chicks to people that are not prepared to properly care for them by not having a brooder etc. The limit of 6 chicks min is to discourage anyone that just wants to get one or two for their kids to play with. All of these are Animal Abuse issues.

    Your final ordinance has me confused a little. It might be helpful to know what chapter etc of your ordinances you found this in. But from what I am reading I get the impression it is in regard to the operation of processing facilities and has to do with more of a larger scale operation than just a back yard flock. In effect you can have chickens but don't start dreaming of opening up a hatchery.
    I will say with 99.9% certainty that you can have chickens in your back yard. Penned up or not.

    One phrase in a separate ordinance does not overrule a phrase in another. and the first ordinance clearly and specifically states that you can have animals common to farms and lists Poultry specifically. In order for keeping chickens to be illegal. this ordinance would have to be removed or altered.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'm not an expert, but I seriously doubt that you can get around the ordinances by free ranging them. Besides, do you plan on just letting them sleep wherever at night or are you going to put them in a predator proof coop?

    I suspect that last ordinance requires you to put your coop and maybe run at least 100 feet from any property line that is zoned residential. I think the size of your property will determine whether you can keep chickens or not. There might be ways around that, though. Maybe get your neighbors within 100 feet to sign an agreement that they don't mind. Maybe reach agreement with a neighbor to share the flock with you so you can include the size of their lot with yours. Maybe they own one hen and are entitled to eggs, but they pay you for keeping her and feeding her by allowing you to compost any poop she provides. If you don't like that, come up with your own legal agreement. As long as it is a partnership and not a business, it might work.

    I'd suggest finding out who is the animal control officer in your jurisdiction and talk to them. Your city or county executive or police or sheriffs office would know who that is. You've done your research now you are prepared to refer to specific ordinances to back your case.

    Don't totally give up yet. Good luck!
  6. jenmamahen

    jenmamahen In the Brooder

    May 8, 2009
    Miamisburg, OH
    Quote:The zoning districts aren't available online, but I am 99% certain that we live in a residential district.
  7. jenmamahen

    jenmamahen In the Brooder

    May 8, 2009
    Miamisburg, OH
    Quote:We were just joking about the free ranging part. I just found it amusing that the ordinance forbade the penning, but not the keeping, of chickens.

    We don't have any neighbors whose property directly abuts ours. All our neighbors are across the street from us. The one building directly next to our property is a school, which, at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, will be vacated and turned into administrative offices for the school district.

    Thanks for the suggestion to talk to the animal control officer. I'll give them a call this week and see what information they can give me.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I don't know why I didn't look here earlier. Not enough coffee maybe. Anyway, check this link. It may help a buch. I'd still talk to the animal control officer. And strange as it may sound, if the school grounds are not zoned residential, you may have a legal out anyway.

  9. jenmamahen

    jenmamahen In the Brooder

    May 8, 2009
    Miamisburg, OH
    Quote:Thank you! I don't know how I missed that post before! Well, according to the info there, chickens ARE allowed in Miamisburg. I will double check before going ahead, but this is so awesome to know! I've wanted to have chickens for the longest time now, and always thought they weren't allowed in town. So exciting!
  10. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Chirping

    Mar 17, 2010
    Ohio state law is the same all over, your city ordinances might be different. A couple questions, first how much land to you have, and second have you contacted the county and city zoning offices? State law says the county has the right to regulate agriculture on 5 acres or less. In most places agriculture on one acre or less can be banned except for a garden in relation to a residence.

    under the heading of development there is a pop-up box, the last category is planning and zoning code. That is where you want to look. Your zoning status should be on your tax bill, if not the county auditor should have the listing on their website.

    Animal control won't know, your local board of health won't know. The only one who will know is your local zoning officer. If you need any more help let me know. I got a crash course in Ohio agriculture law last month, the process is still ongoing. I have contacted several zoning lawyers and a lawyer concerning state law over my conflict. Since you are in what is typically considered farm country in Ohio your zoning codes are a bit more relaxed than the ones in franklin county (Columbus area).

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