Tuesday, July 29, 2008

When is a chicken a pet?

Dorinda Johnson contacted me a while ago about the encroaching housing developments that were coming closer to her Alabama home. Because someone in the development had a rooster, neighbors complained to the city and the Planning & Zoning Commission took up the question of regulating chickens.

Mrs. Johnson had driven around the neighborhood, to see if she could identify the house with the rooster and work out a compromise. She wasn't able to find the rooster's home.

She was prepared with contact information for the appropriate people, including the city attorney. I sent her information from SPPA and sent the city attorney links to information about other cities that allow residents to own chickens. Mad City Chickens, http://www.madcitychickens.com/, has a lot of history and background and a summary of the essential elements that make Madison's ordinance successful. Judging from his recommendations to the city,
which are almost identical, the information helped him advise the commission on how to regulate rather than prohibit chickens. The Planning & Zoning Commission set up a subcommittee to research the issue of defining 'pets' and report back.

By working together, we can overcome obstacles to keeping chickens, even in urban areas. Perhaps some signs like this one from Signs Up, http://www.signs-up.com/, would help. Thanks for being willing to participate in your local government, Mrs. Johnson. Keep us posted.

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