Well.....I got the dreaded letter

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Lenis, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. Lenis

    Lenis In the Brooder

    Aug 11, 2015
    So the letter came in the mail today saying I have 15 days to get rid of my chickens. I've had them for a year now and only today does a letter come. It says they've been notified that I have chickens....makes it sound like someone complained. I'm not sure what to do. My kids are so upset and frankly I've shed a couple tears. I read the ordinances for my area prior to starting this venture. There wasn't a whole lot there which made me think I was ok. They define animal husbandry as raising livestock or poultry for meat or by product as a business or for financial gain. I do not sell my eggs. And they define a pet as an animal for pleasure not profit. Again, I don't sell my eggs. I have no rooster so I don't breed. There is a reference to the number of poultry you can have in a low density population area but there is no mention of poultry in the medium population district which is where I live. They referenced the small population district wording in my letter. If it's not listed at all can they argue that it's then not allowed? I don't even know what to do at this point. I feel like the little guy never wins in these situations. Does anyone have any advice?

  2. AllynTal

    AllynTal Songster

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    If it were me, and I'm no lawyer, I would collect all the information you can about the rules and regulations that you researched before you got the chickens and then appeal it. Use specific language that addresses each rule pertaining to poultry on your property. The powers-that-be have been known to be wrong before. In the meantime, start looking for a place for your chickens in case the appeal hits a brick wall.
    1 person likes this.
  3. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    Mar 19, 2009
    Make them give you the numbers of the statutes and/or ordinances you are being cited under. Then find out where the law library is (just about every community has one) and look them up for yourself. The reference librarian at the law library will help you find the volumes you need. I learned long ago that what an authority (any authority) tells you the law is and what the law is is very often not the same, or even close. I have heard of people being cited for having chickens under regulations that didn't even apply.
    2 people like this.
  4. azjustin

    azjustin Chirping

    Apr 1, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    Can you post the exact wording or a link to what it is? Interpretation is 9/10ths of the law, maybe we can help them see it differently.

    What jurisdiction sent you this letter? What's the absolute worst outcome of this situation if you ignore the letter? Fighting a local government is a lot different than a neutered HOA that doesn't have a pot to piss in (or a lawyer to do it for them).

    What to do at this point is to figure out your options and act accordingly. The little guy can win, but not without help!
  5. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Songster

    May 18, 2016
    Valley of the Sun :)
    that's how it is

    when you got a notice it's always the neighbor reporting on you.. code inspectors don't drive around the city and looking for violations.. most-all cases were reported to them

    if you read the ordinances and still not clear if it's ok or not.. and just assumed that it's ok ? that was a bad idea

    like the other users stated

    provide the link to the ordinance so we can read it as well

    but without reading it.. i think they clearly stated that chickens are not allowed..

    chickens would fall under "poultry" for most people

    remember.. poultry are domestic birds that people raise for meat or eggs..
  6. RoyalCoopMom

    RoyalCoopMom Chirping

    Feb 13, 2015
    St Louis
    We are in the same boat. My HOA is suing me over my 4 pet chickens. - BYC is a great resource and has provided my with some insight into the arguments I'll be up against. Keep us posted on your progress and I'm sure the group will chime in for you as well.
  7. EggsRUs1948

    EggsRUs1948 In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2015
    This should help. A little common sense.
    Pet chickens are incidental to residential use. In City of Sparta v. Page, 2015 IL App (5th) 140463-U, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s finding that the defendant landowner was not in violation of a local zoning ordinance. The City of Sparta (City), a home rule municipality, claimed the defendant violated a zoning ordinance by conducting an unpermitted use in a residential district by keeping chickens at his residence.
    In the summer of 2013, the City’s animal control officer discovered the defendant raising chickens at his residence and claimed he warned him to remove the chickens. The residence was situated on a one and one-half acre tract within the city limits where defendant had been raising chickens for approximately four years on the property using a movable fence. He considered his chickens to be pets and did not use them for any commercial enterprise; no evidence was presented that he sold either the chickens or their eggs. In March 2014, the defendant called in a complaint to the City’s police department reporting a stray dog attacked one of his chickens. When the animal control officer responded, he discovered the defendant had not complied with his previous warning and the officer issued a citation. The citation listed a violation of a City municipal code pertaining to harboring certain animals including swine, cattle, horses, mules, or game birds within the city limits, which was later amended to a zoning violation for conducting a prohibited agricultural use in a residential district. The trial court held that raising chickens was not prohibited by the code and that the defendant’s activities were not commercial in nature and, therefore, did not constitute agricultural use. The court reasoned the defendant’s use was merely incidental to permitted residential use of the property, much like having a vegetable garden. Moreover, the court reasoned the clear primary use of the property was residential and normal incidental uses of residential homes and property include having pets. While the zoning code does not specifically permit dogs, vegetable gardens, or fruit trees in a residential district, all of those uses are incidental to residential use and clearly are not prohibited. Source
    LDSmama likes this.

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