- R U Ready for Backyard Chickens? QUIZ
- One Dozen Tips to Legalize Chickens in Your Community
- Annotated Ordinance
- Case Statement
- Florida's Chicken Support Organizations
- Sarasota Chicken Resources
- Designing a Southwest Florida Coop
- Top 25 Funky Chicken Facts
- Hurricanes and Hens
- My Chickens Busted by Code Enforcement, What do I do Now?
- 7 Stages of Chicken Keeping in the U.S.
- America's Largest Chicken Cities
- (ABC) Annotated Bibliography of Chicken Legalization Reference Material
Thursday, November 20, 2014
CLUCK requests reasonable protection for chicken advocates
The following was sent to County Administrator Harmer (with copies to the five Commissioners) on November 20th in an effort to clarify that citizens should be able to speak freely, without fear of reprisals, on the matter of backyard chicken keeping in Sarasota County, even if they currently have chickens illegally.
County Administrator Harmer:
Based on recent concerns, I drafted and circulated for comment among several CLUCK leaders the following communication:
Upon review of Ann McAvoy’s presentation during Open To The Public on Tuesday afternoon, I noticed she desribed her petition as being one that “many others support, but have not signed, for fear of retaliation”.
Similar concerns have emerged on social media -- that is people being afraid to advocate on behalf of backyard chickens because they currently have chickens in zoning districts where they are not allowed. This morning I saw the following online query: “Might our signatures/address serve in generating citation notices if it doesn't pass?”
I don’t believe this is a particularly warranted fear, because I don’t believe our local government is vindictive or retaliatory and my understanding is that our code enforcement strategy is primarily complaint driven.
However, it is unfortunate to think that the community support for backyard chickens is being artificially depressed out of fear.
CLUCK has never advocated that people deliberately violate zoning codes in the hope they will not be noticed. Too many times we have heard the poignant anguish of people who had to give up their hens and consequently we don’t believe it is worth the risk. Nevertheless, some Sarasotans naively (like the Kormans) or defiantly choose to raise backyard hens in areas where they are currently prohibited.
It is worth observing that these households represent valuable real-world experience that could inform the commission. If these chicken outlaws have been able to keep hens for a protracted period of time, their experience suggests backyard hens can be easily integrated within a neighborhood. And if neighbors do find fault and code enforcement gets involved, the genesis of the complaint can be instructive. In the Korman’s case, the chickens were a convenient proxy for what was actually a property boundary dispute between neighbors. We suspect this is a relatively common pattern – illegal chickens being used as pawns in ongoing neighbor chess matches.
Therefore I am writing to request two things: first that the county temporarily suspend enforcement actions against chicken owners for a few days (except in cases involving suspected cockfighting, crowing roosters, health concerns, animal abuse, or animal hoarding) until the commission clarifies its intent (which probably needs to be on the agenda December 9th or 10th in order to respond in a timely manner to Special Magistrate Zack’s December 19th deadline).
Second, reassure citizens that the county will not use their participation in this needed community discussion as a means of identifying people for possible enforcement action.
On behalf of Sarasota CLUCK