Potential legal conflict with "semi" ex-neighbor.

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by HappyTalons, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. HappyTalons

    HappyTalons Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2010
    So we got chickens two years ago, didn't do the usual practice of alerting the neighbors but have generally been well received after the fact (a few neighbors asked why we didn't get a rooster!).

    I had read the city ordinance several times before we bought them however, animal control did show up and tell us our chickens needed to be confined (we free range them in the back yard). I read the law again and called animal control to let them know our birds do not leave our backyard. We did move our coop to better comply with the 150 foot from other residences rule, and after talking to animal control they were satisfied and they have left us alone since.

    Two days ago our neighbor behind us showed up on our doorstep and asked us if we'd get rid of the chickens with the strong implication that we were not allowed to have chickens in town at all and that if we didn't get rid of them he would pursue legal action. This particular neighbor didn't seem to have a particular problem with the chickens earlier. In fact his dog killed 4 of the 5 we had the first few months we had them and he offered to replace them then. He has since moved out to Columbia (1 hour away) and has been trying to sell his house for around a year. He said that his realtor mentioned that potential buyers had expressed concern about the chickens in the backyard when the house was being shown.

    In any case we are concerned about what will come of this. We have long thought that this neighbor had a ridiculous price set on his house the minute it was put on the market. He's reduced the price by $10,000 but it's still well overpriced compared to other houses in the neighborhood. We are considering simply putting in a privacy fence so that the neighbors can't see the chickens (there's only a 4 foot chain link fence at the moment) but of course that will cost us quite a bit of money.

    Here's the relevant section of the local ordinance:

    A minimum of 25,000 square feet of open space per animal shall be required to keep, maintain, tether, confine or house sheep, horses, cattle, goats, swine or similar domestic animals anywhere in the City. It shall be unlawful for more than two such animals, in any combination, to be upon such premises. The shelter for sheep, horses, cattle, goats, swine, rabbits, mules, or poultry in any structure, whether temporary or permanent, must be 150 feet distant from any public property, church or any building used for a residence by other than the owner of such animals. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a duly licensed public stable.​
    Driving animals on sidewalks. It shall be unlawful for any person in the City to lead, ride or drive any horse, pony or other beast of burden on any sidewalk or footway in the City, otherwise than by going into or out of any premises owned or occupied by him or his employer.
    Designated animals, fowl prohibited at large. No owner or keeper of any cattle, hogs, horses, mules, sheep, goats, geese, ducks, chickens and turkeys, or any of them, in the City, shall permit the same to run at large in the City.
    Burial of dead animals; removal of same.
    Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to bury any dead animal within the corporate limits of the City.
    Duty of Street Commissioner. In any such case described in subsection (1), if the person offending shall not remove the nuisance it shall be the duty of the Street Commissioner to remove the same and the costs of doing so shall be taxed as costs in the case in addition to the fine imposed.
    City to bear cost if unknown offender. If the person so offending shall not be known, the City shall pay the actual amount expended in removing such nuisance.

    Here's the full document

    Any thoughts?
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    How far is the coop away from the houses?
  3. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2011
    North Central Texas
    the ordinance leaves some room for either side it seems to me. i think you're going to end up putting up the privacy fence or letting the chickens temporarily go until this "neighbor" is out of your life.
    i hope it turns out well for you.
  4. HappyTalons

    HappyTalons Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2010
    I haven't actually measured directly though I did do some educated guess measurements. It would be difficult to truly measure given the fences that are in the way but I'm looking at about 120 feet which is what animal control said they were enforcing on the coop. We could potentially move the coop a bit farther but that would take us out of the fenced area of our backyard.
  5. love-my-wolves

    love-my-wolves Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2008
    Front Royal, VA
    It seems to me that Animal Control decided in your favor in the beginning, and you are meeting your end of the rules. I would say to invest in the privacy fence, just to avoid future issues. If they cannot sell their house due to high price, they are probably trying to imply it is the fault of your chickens, which is just a blame game and nothing you do will cause their home to sell faster, or not at all. As long as you are within the guidelines, I think they just have to accept that. Good luck!!!!
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    You definitely seem to fit within the ordinance, but the other thing you need to check is whether keeping poultry are a permitted use in your zoning. If they were nto, I would have expected the original inspector to mention that rather than that their coop location and concern over them being at large.

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