On Monday March 12, 2012 at 7p.m. I will appeal to the board of zoning for the Village of Carlisle in an attempt to allow my chickens to stay with us. This hearing will be open to the public and your support is greatly appreciated.
After having chickens for the past year with nothing but acceptance from neighbors, (who were happy to receive our eggs) a complaint regarding our family’s pet chickens was received by the local zoning administrator. After having received an official notice of violation I requested an appeals hearing.
The basis for the decision to disallow chickens on my property was based on the definition of “agricultural livestock” which I will cover in a moment.
Code. 1272.12 ANIMALS; KENNELS.
(a) Agricultural livestock shall not be permitted on any lot of less than three acres in size.
That may sound fine; we surely don’t need a confinement cattle farm in the neighborhood that would be a nuisance. Unfortunately the problem has stemmed from the definition of agricultural livestock. The village of Carlisle does not define agricultural livestock within it’s codes. If you were to source the definition from many different academic resources you might notice that many do not refer to poultry as livestock.
Let’s also examine the fact that these chickens are in no way agriculture. They are merely pets who provide us with fresh eggs. Much like a pet dog or cat may provide you with protection or affection. The eggs are not sold. Extra eggs are given to neighbors and family.
Instead of utilizing definitions proposed by scholars the village of Carlisle defaults to the state of Ohio’s definition derived by lawyers.
As used in this chapter, “livestock” means either of the following:
(A) Equine animals regardless of the purpose for which they are raised;
(B) Any of the following animals that are raised for human food products or fiber:
(1) Porcine animals;
(2) Bovine animals;
(3) Caprine animals;
(4) Ovine animals;
(8) Any other animal designated in rules adopted under section 904.03 of the Revised Code.
Added by 128th General Assembly File No. 24, HB 414, § 1, eff. 3/31/2010.
I am no lawyer, but let’s examine this for a moment. “As referred to in this chapter,” The whole chapter relates to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, how it is formed, who can work for it, and where it’s funding is appropriated from. This chapter in the ORC is not in place to regulate a few family chickens.
Nothing in our local laws specifically bars us from owning a few pet chickens. I don’t believe Carlisle would be contradicting any ordinances by allowing us to keep pet chickens. The truth of the matter is, is that the complaint originated from the rooster we were keeping at the time. The rooster now has a new home and will not be pestering anyone. I only wish that neighbors could work amongst each other instead of needing to involve law enforcement. A knock on the door and a hand shake could have solved this whole thing.
With all the legal speak out of the way lets consider the idea for a moment of chickens in a family’s backyard.
Our chickens are healthy and clean. Odors are not emitted from the property and the coop and pin are constructed tastefully and are visually appealing. Our chicken pin is not large; in fact you could compare it to a standard dog kennel. We do not sell eggs. We eat them ourselves and are happy to share with our neighbors.
Let’s talk for a moment about proximity of my “agricultural” operation. Only 200 feet to our east is a farm zoned agricultural which is allowed to have not only chickens, but hogs and horses. Roughly 300 feet to the west is the village limits. As you can see we are not in the middle of town. We are on the outskirts of town and on some days you can here other roosters to the west just outside of town. In fact, in the same neighborhood that I reside (which is split in half by the village limits) others have also enjoyed raising chickens.
It would be a shame to lose the teaching potential raising chickens has provided for my children. I am pleased that my daughter was able to experience the responsibility of raising and caring for another life, and knowing that her food does not just come from a grocery store shelf. I hope that my new born son will be able to also learn these important lessons.
Chickens have provided a more sustainable source of protein and other nutrients for my family. We know where they come from and we know they are safe to eat. Ever try to take a look inside a chicken confinement house? They won’t let you in! I only want to insure that I can continue to provide my family with safe and nutritious food, even through the tough economic times we are all experiencing.
We are not alone on the chicken front. Many other municipalities are beginning to change there minds on just how much of nuisance a 9 pound chicken could really be. New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Seattle and Portland, Ore., Vancouver, Toledo, Canton, and hundreds more have all figured this out and adjusted local codes to meet the demands of the taxpayers. I hope that Carlisle will be able to understand the importance and simply let this one go.
You can email me, Rick Hoffman, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Links and sources regarding this post:
- The Village of Carlisle http://www.carlisleoh.org/
- Carlisle Law: http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Ohio/carlisle/codeofordinancesofcarlisleohio?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:carlisle_oh
- The Ohio Revised Code: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/904
- Livestock AND Poultry http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/plantsanimals/livestock
- Encyclopedia definition of livestock: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/344757/livestock
- List of chicken friendly municipalities: http://lawrencechickenfarmers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=1