I have been waiting on giving a final update to the Black Jack chicken news, since it is still in its death wigglings, but there is new dissent afoot in Brentwood.
Angie Hulshoff, mother of three (human children) and "mother" to 5 pet chickens, who all come when called by name and follow her children around, got a notice on her door, out of the blue.
It called her into city hall to face fined for violations of city ordinances for keeping chickens.
Angie and her family have had these pet backyard birds for over three years. When she first got them, she called City Hall and inquired about the ordinances, and was told that she was on the up and clear for having backyard birds. She has had no complaints for noise, nuisance or odor from any neighbours. In fact, one of her very next door neighbours is an alderwoman for Brentwood City Hall and spoke eloquently in defence on her behalf as a stellar animal caretaker and encouraged support for her cause for keeping her beloved childrens' pets.
Angie immediately did some research and came up with our local backyard St. Louis chickens meetup list. We have grown to over 700 members in a very short period of time, have regular sustainable living/backyard chicken coop tours/education events, and a very active membership. You can join here at: http://www.meetup.com/stlouischickens/
The mayor of Brentwood was very supportive of Angie's case. Ann Martin, of Clayton, did some wonderful research and noted by law that there does not need to be any new ordinances written as there already are nuisance and noise laws written into code that would cover any chicken issues, and laws against keeping a bull, donkeys, or other farm stock inside your homes. Yup. I think that about covers it ...
It looks hopeful for Angie, but we have been working diligently with Richmond Heights, Black Jack, Ballwin, Valley Park, etc. St. Louis is a very different community for city laws and city structures but we are all bonded together for the continuity of support for the national "green" movement of people growing their own food sources and knowing where and how it came from, and chickens are a dual commodity. They are simultaneously backyard food sources, family pets, AND they provide healthy, nutritious eggs. They are quieter than barking dogs and lawn mowers and provide healthy fertilizer that is expensive to buy.
We are all rooting for Angie, who has very good support in city hall, and rooting for the education of a greater sponsorship of the importance of being able to know where your food comes from, how it is fed and grown, and how its intake affects your family.
And then, there is the "pet thing" - I do have to admit, I sit both sides of the fence ...
Dorene, off to snuggle/huggle her flock