Friday, December 14, 2007

No Chickens in Chicago?

Say it ain't so!

Chicago Considers Chicken Ban
Chicago May Ban Chickens As Feathered Pets' [sic] Gain Popularity Among Young Professionals

Coming up for a vote Wednesday is a proposal to ban chickens, a former barnyard denizen that is pecking its way into cities across the country as part of a growing organic food trend among young professionals and other urban dwellers.

Chicken lovers say the birds make great pets, don't take up much backyard space and provide tasty, nutritious eggs.

[ . . . ]

Many neighbors of chicken-keepers aren't happy, either. This year, the city received more than 700 complaints about chickens though mostly about the racket from roosters.

"We don't encourage people to keep roosters because of the noise," said Johannes Paul, one of the founders of Omlet, a British company that sells a dome-shaped chicken house called the eglu in the U.S for $495.

[ . . . ]

Taylor said he was surprised that Chicago a city that banned foie gras in restaurants over concerns about cruelty to geese and embraced rooftop gardening isn't more welcoming of chickens.

Well, in Charlottesville, you are allowed to keep chickens. You can read the code right here. A couple interesting bits:

Sec. 4-7. Livestock at large.

No person shall permit a horse, mule, cow, bull, sheep or hog to run at large in the city. Any horse, mule, cow, bull, sheep or hog found at large shall be impounded until redeemed by its owner. If not redeemed within five (5) days, during which time the animal warden or pound personnel shall make reasonable efforts to identify and notify the owner, the animal may be sold by the animal warden, and the proceeds, after deducting the amount of the costs of impoundment, shall be held by the city treasurer for the benefit of the owner for sixty (60) days, after which they shall revert to the general fund if unclaimed. If sale is impracticable or no purchaser is found, an animal may instead be placed for adoption or humanely destroyed. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the destruction of a critically injured or ill animal for humane purposes.

All right, who's letting their bull run loose? When did that law go into effect?

Sec. 4-8. Fowl at large.

It shall be unlawful for any person to permit any chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons or other fowl belonging to him to go at large in the city; except, that homing pigeons may be released for return to their cote without violating this section.

Sec. 4-9. Keeping hogs, goats and sheep.

(a) No hogs or sheep shall be kept in the city except for immediate shipment or slaughter.(b) No goats shall be kept within the city.

I called the city to ask about keeping roosters a while back, when a friend had a question about it, and was told there is nothing in the code that bars anyone from owning roosters, either. I can understand that they can make a lot of noise--we have two--but there are certainly more dogs barking all day and late into the night than there are roosters crowing. When I rented a house in the city, a neighbor let their dog bark any ole time. But how often is anything really done about those dogs?

Sec. 4-39. Barking or howling dogs.

(a) The harboring or keeping of any dog which, by loud, frequent or habitual barking or howling, shall cause annoyance and disturb the peace and quiet of any person or neighborhood is hereby declared to be a nuisance and unlawful.

(b) Any person annoyed by loud, frequent or habitual barking or howling by a dog may enter a complaint by warrant returnable to the general district court, where the complaint shall be heard as all other complaints under criminal warrants are heard. Upon a finding by the judge that the dog involved is a loud, frequent or habitual barker or howler and causes annoyance and disturbs the peace and quiet of the complainant or neighborhood, the owner or custodian shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Upon a third conviction within one (1) year of any offense under this section involving the same dog, in addition to imposing a fine for the violation, the judge shall order the owner or custodian of the dog to remove it permanently from the city within two (2) weeks. Should the owner or custodian fail to comply with such order, the dog shall be seized by the animal warden and humanely destroyed or placed for adoption outside of the city.

On a related note, my brother-in-law was out running during lunchtime, just a couple days ago, and got bit twice by the same dog! He was running around a block or something, and the dog got him on both sides. When he reported it, the animal control officer knew who the dog was--he's a repeat offender, but when are they going to do something about it??

Sec. 4-5. Confinement of dangerous animals.

(a) No owner of an animal which is known or reasonably suspected of being dangerous shall suffer or permit such animal to run at large in the city or be kept in the city at any time except in strict confinement in such manner as to be safe for the public at large or any person who may have occasion to go on the premises on which such animal is kept.

(b) If the owner of any animal known or reasonably suspected of being dangerous fails to take it into custody after being notified to do so by the animal warden, such animal may be killed by the animal warden if it is deemed necessary for the safety of the public. Upon complaint or warrant alleging that a dangerous animal is being allowed to run at large in the city, or is not being confined in the manner provided by this section, the owner of the animal shall be brought before the judge of the general district court and, after inquiry into the facts, the judge shall order the animal killed by the animal warden or make such further disposition of the case as shall ensure the future safety of the public from danger from such animal. If the owner of the animal cannot be ascertained, the animal shall be taken into custody by the animal warden and, upon its being determined that subsection (a) of this section is being violated with respect to such animal, it shall be disposed of as herein before provided, just as if the owner were present.

Anyway, I'm rooting for the chicken-owners in Chicago. Maybe Oprah will get behind them like she did Obama. :)

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