San Dimas city ordinance - less than one week!! save my hens!!


In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
San Dimas, CA
We just got a letter from the Inland Humane Society and SPCA saying that our residence is not zoned for chickens and that we have 1 week to get rid of them. The letter itself was really confusing because it referred to the rooster and the chickens separately, and while it said that chickens were not allowed, it seemed to imply that the rooster was the problem. At any rate, it said we are not zoned for chickens.

What drives me nuts is that we only have 1 week!! to find homes for our babies. The second thing is that the San Dimas Feed store in downtown San Dimas sells chicks!! Why would you sell chicks if chickens are not allowed in the city? Third thing is that I even looked up San Dimas ordinances to see if we could have chickens, and under the section on "Animals" is the following:

Any person, who dyes, colors or otherwise artificially treats any rabbit, baby chick, duckling or other fowl is found guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 436 § 1 (part), 1973; Ord. 232 § 2 (part), 1968: prior code § 20-54)

6.28.020 Sale—Display—When prohibited.
Any person who displays, sells, offers for sale, barters or gives away any rabbit, baby chick, duckling or other fowl as a pet, novelty or prize is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 436 § 1 (part), 1973; Ord. 232 § 2 (part), 1968: prior code § 20-55)

6.28.030 Sale—Display—When permitted.
Nothing in Sections 6.28.010 and 6.28.020 shall prohibit the display or sale of any natural rabbit, chick, duckling or other fowl by any dealer, hatchery or store engaged in the business of selling them to be raised for food purposes whenever such dealer, hatchery or store has the proper facilities for the display and care of such animals or fowl. (Ord. 436 § 1 (part), 1973; Ord. 232 § 2 (part), 1968: prior code § 20-56)

So the only thing about fowl is that you can't color them or sell them. Which we haven't done. If there are no specific city ordinance, then it should fall under Los Angeles County ordinance, which allows chickens.

If the complaint is about noise, then yes, we'll get rid of the rooster. But it's too much to ask for us to give up our five hens!

Does anyone have any experience or advice? The letter says we have 1 week, and then an inspector might come and we'll get cited. How do I fight this citation?
It is a shame and I think you need to head downtown and register a formal complaint. Here is the code they are speaking of:

18.20.060 Animals.
A. Household pets may be kept in residential zones under the following conditions;
1. Such pets shall not be kept in such number or under such conditions that create a neighborhood nuisance from noise, odors, dust or appearance.
2. Not more than three adult dogs or cats or three similar domestic animals or three animals of any combination of the above may be kept.
3. Not more than three small animals, such as guinea pigs, rabbits or white mice may be kept.
4. Not more than fifteen birds or fowl shall be kept, none of which shall be chickens.
5. No venomous animals nor any animal that cannot be or is not actually prevented from invading or becoming a nuisance to neighboring premises may be kept.
B. Provided further, however, in R-A zones in parcels of eleven thousand square feet or larger with a minimum width of eighty feet and containing not more than one dwelling unit, domestic animals in addition to the household pets as limited in subsection (A) of this section shall be permitted within the following limitations, and solely for the use of the family residing on the parcel:
1. Rabbits, not to exceed one buck and four does;
2. Fowl for meat purposes, not to exceed twenty-five;
3. Chickens for eggs, not to exceed twenty layers;

4. Calves, not to exceed one calf under two years of age, and none older;

Your possible "redemption" caveat would be what is highlighted in red. Even if you fell under the "restrictive" guidelines under section B I think, in this day and age, this "code" should be updated with a more enlightened viewpoint. What are the names of your surrounding municipalities that we could search their code to try to find "precedent" to add credence to your position?

It seems the R-A zone 11,000 sq ft is ~ 1/4 acre of land. Not sure on your lot size.
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Can't have a chicken but you can keep 100 pigeons -- WOW. Talk about hypocrisy. As a start you could review the "regs" for the pigeons and consider the guidelines to argue your point.

A permit to keep homing pigeons for exercise and racing shall be issued by the city subject to and upon compliance by the applicant with the following conditions:
a. All feed for such homing pigeons shall be stored in containers which offer protection against rodents;
b. All food scraps and droppings shall be removed from the premises at least once a week and disposed of in a sanitary manner;
c. The lofts or pigeon houses where such homing pigeons are kept shall be soundly constructed, properly maintained and adequately landscaped to blend with and conform to the surrounding area;
d. The lofts or pigeon houses shall be maintained in a sanitary condition and in compliance with the health regulations of the city and those promulgated by the state racing pigeon organization;
e. The city or its duly authorized representative shall have the right to inspect each loft and pigeon house at such times as it shall deem advisable;
To the OP: keep a stick handy for when the so-called "inspector" shows up. Handle it menacingly and give the impression that you own the place and he would be better off elsewhere. Nah, better not try that. I do wish that our predecessors had done so, and we would have far less bureaucracy to deal with. If enough people would band together, these little minions would find real jobs and leave working folk alone.
Thank you so much! I checked and we don't fall under an R-A zone, and our lot size is 10,000 sq ft. So I think we only fall under A instead of B. But the code is super old. The latest update to that part of the code is 1972. 40 years ago!!

In googling, I found this:

Under 6. PLANNING/DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, there was mention of changing chicken ordinance laws. "It was the consensus of the City Council to direct staff to further investigate and bring back some considerations in approximately six months." This meeting took place in July. So we're about six month. But not in time to save my chickens!!

Neighboring ordinances:

Los Angeles County Ordinance:

San Gabriel:


Walnut Creek:

Baldwin Park:





Plenty of municipalities in or around Los Angeles allow for chicken keeping in some degree. What's the process for appealing this citation?
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The section on homing pigeons is as big as the rest of the section! Ridiculous and outdated.

I feel terrible because I really want to go to the city, but I'm actually in graduate school right now, and it's my mother who got the letter at home. English isn't her first language, but she loves our chickens. I can't say enough about how happy those chickens have made her. She used to be pretty depressed and have a hot temper, but now whenever she's mad, she just goes to see the chickens and immediately she's happy and radiant. This is so unfair. If it's a noise complain on the rooster, then fine, we'll give away the rooster. But our hens haven't done anything! And shouldn't the Humane Society and SPCA who sent us the letter have animal welfare at its heart? How would these hens be better off somewhere else when my mother loves them and spoils them and takes care of them with all her heart? How would putting these chickens in a shelter or worse, euthanizing them, be any better than where they are now?
Under 6. PLANNING/DEVELOPMENT SERVICES, there was mention of changing chicken ordinance laws. "It was the consensus of the City Council to direct staff to further investigate and bring back some considerations in approximately six months." This meeting took place in July. So we're about six month. But not in time to save my chickens!!
Call the office that sent you the letter and ask (plead with) them for an injunction until an answer can be received regarding the above investigation. If that information is in the minutes of a public meeting then they are required to act on it.
Well I called the Humane Society, and the officer that I called was really sympathetic because she has hens herself. She said that if we got rid of the rooster, they would not follow up with a formal investigation unless we got more complaints about the hens. In the meantime, I think I'll try to work on changing city ordinances, especially if they've been debated as recently as July.
Great news -- sorry the roo has to go but roos not tolerated in urban settings. You got the right idea to follow up on the ordinance. The fact that it was discussed in the recent past is a window of opportunity to "adjust" the rules for the future of backyard chickens in your area. Enjoy your birds -- I'm excited for your mother as well.

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