WHat is the first step???!!!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by mommystayshome, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. mommystayshome

    mommystayshome Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 13, 2008
    The stupid animal control came today and said I have to get rid of my hens b/c they have to be 350 feet away from any home. One of my STUPID neighbors turned me in even though my girls are NOT loud or annoying in any way. SO I need to know what is the first step in changing the ordinances so I can once again have my girls back. I don't even know where to begin. CAn someone help me out??
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'd suggest you start by reading the ordinances and see what they actually say. Your public library and animal control may be good places to start.
  3. valereee

    valereee Ordinance Wrangler

    Apr 30, 2009
    First, download http://www.scribd.com/doc/16509728/Changing-Your-Citys-Chicken-Laws

    a document we wrote and gave to Montgomery (OH) City Council and Planning Commission to educate them and provide answers to possible concerns and questions about keeping chickens in suburban/urban areas. Feel free to edit it to reflect your area -- this was written with Montgomery in mind, so some things reference Montgomery. For instance, the Montgomery police haven't had a chicken-related complaint since the 70s. Call the police on their normal-business line and ask about the frequency of complaints.

    Do NOT take an adversarial stance with your city council. Use "We" instead of "You" or "They" whenever you talk. "We should reconsider this," rather than "You should" or "They should." Your government is YOU. They represent you and other residents of Norwood. You and other residents elected them, and they're very aware of it. In all likelihood, they all are well-intentioned people doing their level best to represent their constituents to the best of their ability. Treat them as if they're on your side, keep your sense of humor, and they likely will, too. If they feel besieged, they'll likely dig their heels in. Once people have chosen a 'side' it's hard to switch teams, so don't let it become two opposing sides. Always approach it with a 'we're all in this together trying to find a solution that will work for everyone' attitude, and they likely will too. I'm leery of approaching the media except as a last resort (it might make council feel besieged), but if the media approaches you, use your "We" words. "We as a community should reconsider this for (blah blah blah reasons) rather than "They just aren't listening," etc.

    See if you can find a champion on council. Attend some meetings and listen to arguments between the members, see if you can identify someone who is environmentally conscious or concerned about people surviving the down economy. If you can find a champion on the inside (as long as they aren't always the odd man out) that's a very powerful tool. Ask that person for advice.

    Organize! One of the best things you can do is, when you approach Council, have your research document ready with your contact information prominently included. Find out the procedure and rules for addressing council -- usually you have to sign a card or form, turn it in, then you have three minutes or something. If there's a podium/microphone for citizen input, go to it and state your name and address. Ask that "WE" reconsider the idea of allowing "chicken-keeping for purposes of household egg-gathering" as it's a way for people to raise a little of their own food in an uncertain economy and a way to live a more sustainable life in the city. Tell them you have some research you'd like to provide on the issue. Tell them that chickens are currently legal in (whatever nearby areas) and that those communities aren't experiencing problems with their chickens. When the buzzer sounds, thank them, ASK WHAT YOUR NEXT STEP SHOULD BE, give their clerk copies of your document, enough for all council members, and sit down. They probably won't look at it then, but they'll get it and many of them will look at it over the next few weeks before the next meeting. If you can bring multiple supporters with you, do it. They don't have to talk, but just being there (and looking like solid, responsible citizens rather than nutcases <g>) will help. Ask other people to come, too -- some will, and even if they're not from your area, their presence -- looking normal and sane -- will help. Then attend the next meetings and if it isn't on the agenda ask politely if they've considered the issue.

    If they agree to consider it, THAT's when you want to get the major support out. Attend every meeting, whether it's a business or a work session. Get others to attend, too. Ask people to write letters to council. If it gets referred to a Planning Commission, attend those meetings and give them your document. If they decide to address it, there'll probably be a public hearing -- drag as many warm bodies there as you can -- and you'll want to have lots of people writing letters to the editor of your community paper.

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