Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pinellas Poultry Decision December 20th, Hillsborough Petition Now Online

According to a Suzette Porter story appearing on, unincorporated Pinellas County may be on the verge of allowing four backyard hens. Chickens are already allowed in Belleair, Dunedin, Gulfport, Largo and St. Petersburg. The arguments for and against seemed remarkably similar to what was heard in the City of Sarasota and the proposed rules (four hens, no roosters, single family residential areas only) seems generally similar to Sarasota's. See the website for Pinellas County Citizens for Backyard Poultry.

Here's a letter from organizer Lisa McBride

Dear Pinellas Backyard Chicken Advocates,

We need your help! We need letters and phone calls to all of the commissioners THIS WEEK even if you have already done so in the past. The final hearing and vote to legalize backyard chickens in our county will be held next Tuesday, December 20th at 6:30 PM. We also need you and all of friends who support the new ordinance to show up at that meeting.  
Anyone who wishes to can speak at the hearing for up to 3 minutes. All you have to do is get to the meeting early enough and fill out a blue card and then you will be called upon to speak during the hearing.

Commissioners Latvala, Roche & Welch have expressed support for the proposed ordinance. Seel, Morroni & Bostock are currently in opposition because the Code Enforcement Department staffing has been greatly reduced and they do not want to add additional workload to that department.

My best estimate of number of additional calls to Code Enforcement as a result of this change would be 23 calls (based on data from, St. Pete, Dunedin, Largo Gulfport & Belleair). If it costs the county $75 for each call, the cost to enforce the new backyard chicken ordinance will be less than $2000. Compare that with a cost of approximately $4 million dollars to run the Animal Services Department which is a department charged with management of issues related to domestic animals, i.e. dogs and cats, and the cost to enforce this new ordinance seems trivial. Especially when you consider that the chickens can yield a family a net savings of $400 a year when the cost to own a dog per year is $1100-$ 3500 dogs and the cost to own a cat is      $1070 per year.

I’ve attached a copy of our last Powerpoint as well as the proposed ordinance to give you information for letters.

Thank you for your support,

Lisa McBride.

In other regional chicken news, Hillsborough County Citizens for Backyard Poultry now has an online petition.