Want to try to change a law, knowing I will fail. Pointers?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ehurt, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. ehurt

    ehurt In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    Norman, OK

    I am new here. I contacted countryroad I believe her name was on craigslist about a bantam rooster, and she sent me this way.

    I became a vegetarian (or at least started morphing to one) when I was 12. I was on and off about eating eggs, and I decided they were okay to eat, but did not like the conditions they were kept in. I moved and have a yard thats about 55x45 feet, so I wanted to get a chicken ark and leash train them so I could take them down to the duck pond with me and the dog I would get to protect them and be a pet of course. I went to McMurray hatchery website and picked out what I wanted. I also saw on craigslist for a tiny tiny Nigerian Dwarf Goat. They produce milk that I thought I could try cooking with, or feed to the dog and chickens, or just have a sweet little pet. They get 20" - 24" tall.

    I called the city again, and they said I could have whatever I wanted as long as it was 25' from property lines and 100' from neighbor's houses because they were "livestock." This obviously won't work for me. I am very disappointed, and also very annoyed out of the stupidity of the law. Doubly annoyed actually, because I don't like laws that are unfair and pointlessly so since they don't serve any purpose. I am also extra annoyed since this affects me directly. I disagree with a chicken making more noise than a barking dog, or them being dirtier than the wild birds that are in the city. I disagree that they are more likely to escape, become vicious, and harm a child as a dog could. There are also of course the benefits of cleaner food, fertilizer, and possibly entertainment.

    I am so annoyed actually that I think I want to write or talk to a Norman city official, just so I can at least feel like I'm not just lying down and taking it. I doubt the law would actually get changed to allow it if there are no complaints from the neighbor, or at least apply for a permit to have some. I have no experience with such things, and dislike writing and public speaking, so I think I would be bad at it. Can anyone with experience give me some pointers? I am also more of a math/science person and never got into political science or debate team. The arguments I gave above are pretty much the best thing I could think of to say to an official, and I think they are lacking.

    Thank you,

  2. doodledoo

    doodledoo Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    Cartersville, GA
    I have no advice for you but just wanted to wish you luck!
  3. Cassandra

    Cassandra Ranger Rick

    Oct 27, 2007
    Southwest Mississippi
    Good for you! Way to stand up for yourself.

    First, I'd suggest you get a look at the actual ordinance/law that prevents you from having these animals. Get them to print you out a copy of it. Determine exactly where you fall outside the line. Sounds like you have two problems: the size of your lot and the type of your animals.

    First, you can try to convince them that you want them as pets, not livestock. Insist that they explain to you why it is worse to have a 40 lb goat (or however much they weigh) than an 80 lb dog. One person's livestock is another person's exotic pet. I mean, people could keep a boa constrictor, but not a goat? Whose idea is that?!

    Are you friendly with your neighbors? If you can convince them to agree with you, they can come to the city council meeting with you to support you. Or you can write letters for them to sign saying they don't mind if you have the animals you want.

    After you have learned what the law IS, show them what you would like it to be. I would suggest that you try to amend the ordinance to say something along the lines of:

    Homeowners may keep up to X (five, for example) animals, which might otherwise be considered livestock, but weighing no more than X (say, 40) pounds as pets.

    Or something like that. That way, they won't have to consider the possibility that someone is going to get cows or bison or something. Good luck.

  4. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    I wish I knew how to change a few laws in family court,but to help you with yours there is a little girl someplace on here called seachick,she and her family have a nice "my page" I think she did something in her hometown that may be similar to your problem.Do a search for her and her page may have some tips.
    My advise is if it really bothers you,find a new place to live,that would be your best expression of freedom but alittle drastic,just something to think about when choosing where to live. good luck will
  5. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    I think SeaChick got some rules changed in Portland, Maine, you might want to get in touch...
  6. Momo

    Momo Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Personally, if I were in your shoes, I would get a few hens and build a pretty little coop in the back yard and try not to draw attention to myself. I'd give fresh eggs to the neighbours from time to time, too, to keep them happy about the chickens being there.

    I live out of town but I know that chickens are not allowed within the city limits. I also know that some people have them in town and as long as it's not too obvious and no one complains, it's not a big deal.
  7. ehurt

    ehurt In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    Norman, OK
    I just looked at seachick's website. Very neat that happened. Might try to contact her in the future.

    I guess I'll try to get a meeting sometime soonish with one of the city people, and I'll also talk to neighbors. Kind of worried though since even she had to get her chickens 20' away from property lines. That leaves me a lot less space to have them. Plus, the 20' rule I think is stupid. Dogs don't have to do that (and they can dig under a fence!). Grrr. If anything interesting happens I'll try to keep you guys updated. Hmmm I might post something in the "Where am I?! Where are you?!" section in case there's other people around here who could sign a petition or something. It is unfortunate that I am here for college, so moving isn't really a possibility for the next couple of years. It could help somewhat though in that, as a college town, it's a bit more liberal than a lot of places in Oklahoma I think. Of course the backwater places might be less opposed to chickens. Hmmm double-edged sword.

    Oh, something I forgot to mention is that I live about 100' from the railroad tracks, so noise complaints would be a joke.

    Thanks and bye bye for now,


    Edit: Forgot to mention that I'm afraid of getting them and then having to get rid of them because I'm a working student, not made of money. Plus, I'd have to find a home for them, and I'd waste time and money building a coop. Grr again!
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2008
  8. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    ehurt.............what a drag for you :|........ you might look up a fellow byc'er named Haleyluna. [​IMG].........I adopted a bunch of banties from her because she lived inside OKC city limits and cannot own chickens....she can own Quail and such......doesnt make sense to me...... but she is still working on passing a law to allow chickens within the city limits........she may have some pointers for you.......... look her up in the users list............ she is a really sweet [​IMG] and helpful person....but doesnt always respond fast......she is extremely busy.try the email addy before the pm ......good luck to you !
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2008
  9. poultryand bees

    poultryand bees ~Drives a Magic Poultry Van~

    Feb 4, 2008
    Oklahoma City
    The Norman city ordinance that regulates keeping animals other than cats or dogs within the city limits is Section 3-501 of the Norman city code. The weblink to the ordinance is

    You will need to click on Chapter 3, Article V

    Norman is actually more liberal than some surrounding areas, such as Oklahoma City. There is no acreage requirement for keeping domesticated animals (except for swine) but you do have to maintain their housing no closer than 25 feet to a lot line where there is an inhabited dwelling and no closer than 100 feet from any dwelling other than your own.

    With the size of your lot, you could probably meet the 25 foot setback from the lot line requirement, but not the 100 foot distance from your neighbor's houses. You would still need to check the rules for your neighborhood since some neighborhoods have restrictions in the deed that are more stringent than the city ordinances.

    Norman has an excellent Farmer's Market at the fairgrounds, on Saturday. You should be able to acquire free range chicken eggs at the farmer's market (and truthfully, probably at less expense than it would cost you to buy several hens, build their shelter and feed them) You would miss out on the entertainment value of the chickens, but you could still enjoy fresh country eggs.

    If you want to get a variance for your property, contact your city council representative and see if they would assist you in getting a variance for about 6 chickens.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2008
  10. OurLittleFarm

    OurLittleFarm In the Brooder

    Feb 23, 2008
    South Western PA
    Check the zoning for your lot. The TWP we are in is mostly residential but there are some areas that are still agricultural because no one went back and changed the zoning as farms were slowly divided up. We luckly fell into that situation. If you are agriccultural the distances from lines and residences are usually different.

    Just my 2 cents.

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