Tulare council asked to allow backyard chickens

FRESNO, Calif.

Chicken advocate Dawn Cole told the council: "Aside from being good pets, chickens are good for bug control they eat wasps and flies and crickets and grasshoppers."

Frankie Miller told the council they're quieter than dogs and less dangerous. "I've never been frightened a chicken would come in my back yard and kill my child."

Miller started this controversy when neighbors complained about her eight hens. Code enforcement officer Frank Furtaw's department had to respond. He said, "People when they hear chickens, see chickens running loose or jumping in their backyards they will call and complain."

Miller's chickens were moved out of town, while she appealed to the council to change the city ordinance.

Another chicken person, Gail Burke told the council her three trained chickens have influence. "With three chickens there's not a whole lot of extra eggs but I have shared my eggs and with some high level people in this town." She said.

The council seemed sympathetic, but Furtaw revealed a letter from the California Poultry Federation advising the council to keep its ban on backyard poultry in place, citing the risk of disease. In the end, the council agreed, chickens don't belong in town.

Council Member Wayne Ross put it this way; "My personal feeling is they are country animals. They are not city animals."

The council unanimously upheld its anti-chicken ordinance. Frankie Miller the woman was disappointed, but glad she tried to take on City Hall. "Well then the chickens will stay with my friend and we will feel the loss of our pets what can a citizen do when they come up with something they don't like, but give it a try."

While the council decided to keep the city ban on no chickens in residential areas, Gail Burke, the woman who claims to have three trained chickens will be allowed to go to the city planning commission to apply for a permit to keep them. But that will require a public hearing and testimony from her neighbors who have already complained about her hens.

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