Columbus Considers Banning Chickens From City Limits

23 Jun Columbus Considers Banning Chickens From City Limits

Chicken

Photo: Steve Burns

The proposed amendment would prohibit people from having farm animals in city limits, including chickens.

The Columbus City Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday in favor of changing language in a city ordinance which would classify chickens as farm animals, and disallow Columbus residents to keep farm animals as pets.

The vote was the first step in amending the city’s animal care ordinance. The current legislation has vague guidelines, and the only restriction is that residents can own up to six chickens in residential areas.

Bill Porter and his wife run the Columbus Homeowners Initiative for Chicken Keeping (CHICK), and hope that by educating lawmakers and the community, they, and other Columbus residents, can keep their chickens.

“There’s a lot of families that are sticking within those guidelines, even though there’s very limited rules on it, “Porter says. “There’s a lot of people following those rules. What the city council will be doing is eliminating people from having chickens.”

Porter says he started CHICK last November before the city council tried to outright ban pet chickens in residential areas. The group hoped to show the council members that many members of the community owned chickens and they raised and treated them responsibly, meaning that the chickens lived in a sanitary environment without causing a nuisance to neighbors.

“People keep chickens for many reasons,” Porter says.

Large cities like Indianapolis, and even Chicago have ordinances that allow for urban chicken coops. Bloomington passed a city ordinance in 2010 allowing for people to own up to five hens in residential areas.

Porter hopes that by continuing to call, email, and educate the city council on the benefits of backyard chicken keeping, the proposed amendment will not be enacted. Still, he hopes that the current law will be updated.

“Our group’s opinion is that the city should have a standalone ordinance with guidelines on backyard chicken keeping, so that there’s a limit on the number of birds, and if people can do this on property they own versus property they rent,” Porter says.

The council is set to vote again on the amendment on July 5.

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