Three months after it was successful in getting City Hall to allow chicken keeping in Sarasota, advocates are preparing to push county commissioners to OK it across the entire county.
“We’re testing the waters to see if there will be acceptance or a lot of opposition,” said Laney Poire, coordinator of CLUCK, Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping.
CLUCK wants the county to allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards in residential areas.
Currently, the county only allows them in open-use zones, which are mainly agricultural, because it categorizes chickens as livestock, not pets.
But CLUCK members say chickens are good pets for several reasons:
• They provide eggs for food.
• They teach kids about food sources.
• They provide natural plant fertilizer.
During the fight over chicken keeping in the city, opponents expressed concerns mainly about noise and waste.
But supporters said chickens aren’t noisier or messier than other pets.
“I’m sure there are going to be arguments against it,” said Robert Kluson, a county agriculture and natural resources agent. “But they are no worse than barking dogs.”
For the opponents who feared chickens will cause many problems in neighborhoods, Mayor Kelly Kirschner cited some statistics from Fort Collins, Colo., which has allowed chicken keeping for several years.
There were 12,000 animal-control calls in that city last year, he said.
But only three of those calls concerned chickens.
Poire said people in all economic levels like keeping chickens.
“There is a woman who lives behind me on (the city side of) Siesta Key in a mansion, and she has four chickens,” she said.
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Currently 1 Response
- The information about Ft. Collins is misleading in this story. "Of 12,000 animal control violations only 3 were chicken related"; however, a reading of the Ft. Collins ordinance reveals that a permit is required and only granted when the applicant has completed training in poultry care from the local humane society. This fact has been pointed out the Mayor more than once, and yet he continues to use these figures in this deceptive manner. We in the city have no requirement for training or licensing so we have no way of knowing whether or not prospective chicken owners know what they are doing. With the requirements that Ft. Collins has, it is not a surprise they have had few complaints.
If the county decides to adopt a chicken keeping ordinance, I certainly hope that they will write a better one that we have here in the city. I, too, am living with a woman who keeps chickens on my block. When the wind comes from the right direction, you can smell the manure, and she is four houses away from me. We hear the chickens squawking from that distance, so they are not as quiet as you are lead to believe. Everything is behind a 6-foot wooden fence, so code enforcement officers are ineffective because they can only rely on what is seen from the street. I would recommend that the county wait until our 3-year trial period has expired so that they will be able to ascertain what issues will arise. Three months is too short a time span to judge whether or not a chicken keeping ordinance will result in major problems.
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