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Rosso Carne

Another small town bans chickens

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OK so I say "another" as if this is discussed daily. It adds dramatic effect, sue me. =]

“I favor backyard freedom.â€

— Pleasant Hills Council Vice President Gregory Smith, after voting against an ordinance that imposes strict and pricey regulations on keeping chickens in the South Hills community.

http://triblive.com/mobile/6140998-96/chickens-council-borough

http://triblive.com/mobile/6142298-96/chickens-council-hills

http://triblive.com/mobile/6479997-96/chickens-ordinance-chicken

http://triblive.com/mobile/6460747-96/chickens-ordinance-chicken

I also sent an email to Greg smith, one of the proponents of the homesteaders.

Mr. Smith,

You deserve much respect for standing up for the families in the recent chicken fiasco in the borough. I wanted to write concerning some things I've learned and to raise a few questions you may be able to answer frankly.

Homesteading and other forms of simple suburban living are the only hope long term of saving energy and food cost. Nutrition is poor, fresh food goes such a long way toward this. As a bonus, chickens are great at cleaning up messes. Chickens can find fly and other pest larvae like no other and put a huge dent in what would otherwise be a population of disease ridden flies. I know I've sat outside many summer days getting eaten alive by flies. Imagine if everyone in the borough had a chicken to clean up after them.

I'd like to inquire if this is going to affect other forms of saving, particularly for my family's future. I installed a small garden this year and it is panning out well. Longer term I plan on raising (otherwise legal) fish and quail for my family's consumption and as a plant nutrition source. I'd love chickens (for reasons mentioned above) but they will be outlawed before I have a chance to make the investment. Will my fish and quail constitute a violation or (almost as bad) be just another 50 dollars to file a permit? Will I be in violation of someone complains about my compost tumbler, which is kept in wonderful aerobic conditions and doesn't smell in the least? All these among a thousand other questions. What about treatment of my family's gray water? Will I face violations for trying to conserve water?

I moved to Pleasant Hills because of the neighborhood. It was perceived as a place where neighbors liked one another and would welcome innovation and conservationism. I figured government would try to stay out of people's lives. What I'm seeing is different altogether. Why not promote conservationism? Why not own a community garden at your arboretum? Or a community compost pile for better use of waste? Why can't PH be like the small towns you see on tv?

Thank you immensely for your time and effort, and please get back to me if my enthusiasm made a mark.

That's a lot of articles I know, but some of the things citizens say are just ignorant and misinformed. I particularly like the "why not just buy your eggs at giant eagle? " Oh hey, let me give you a thousand reasons.

Thoughts?

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Hi,

 

Any council which attempts to limit the reasonable production of clean fresh food should be tipped on its arse at every turn.

 

What we really need is to get back to the days of Saul D. Alinsky......now that was a real American for you.  Alinsky's book, "Rules For Radicals" should be required reading for all high school students.  It prescribes a number of very useful strategies for dealing with the professional cowards who would discriminate against others for no good reason.

 

Gary

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I'm hoping councilman smith does get back to me so maybe I can help be a conduit for change. We have an expansive arboretum in our borough, yet people rarely go there. I've heard of municipalities with community compost, how cool is that?

If we all had chickens (or whatever) some of us may be able to avert this impending food crisis

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The amount of ignorance and backwards thinking regarding backyard production is staggering. The ordinances in my village only allow dogs and cats. The leadership of the village is a bit relaxed and doesn't enforce the rules heavily unless there is a complain. This unfortunately serves to give some citizens too much ability to make others' lives difficult. 

 

Godspeed Rosso in this fight - don't let up. Maintain a professional demeanor, and kill them with kindness. It is not likely that anyone's passion against chickens would be greater than your passion for feeding your family quality, home grown produce. Outlast them...

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I can actually see both sides to this issue.  I've known a lot of backyard/small holding farmers that place no emphasis on courtesy, animal welfare, or hygiene.  I would hate to live next to these fly-breeding cesspools.  Not only are they a threat to public health, they are terrible ambassadors to the backyard farming movement.

 

I'm a huge advocate for backyard farming.  If someone can show that their operation is clean and poses no risk to neighbors, then there isn't a logical reason to prevent it.  I do think councils should have the ability to regulate what people do within the limits of the township/community, as those actions directly affect the entire community.

 

That being said, council laws should reflect the needs/desires of the communities.  And when they don't, they should be changed, with support of the community.

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Abe,

 

The problem that I see is that although some people do need policing, the ordinances are written based on the lowest common denominator. Government keeps writing laws based on how to prevent the latest idiot from doing something or the other. This either prevents folks who are conscientious and take care of their backyard from being able to engage in one activity or another, or it makes the process overly tedious.

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I agree, I'm just saying that there are plenty of people that do need to be regulated, but it seems like the only ones being regulated are the ones that don't need it.

 

Though, I do prefer that the local govts tend to regulate things like this, at least you have a fighting chance with them.

Edited by velacreations (see edit history)

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The other thing about Councils is that they already have all of the compliance tools that they need to deal with people who attract vermin, create bad odours and make undue noise......without banning the keeping of chickens.

 

Have you ever wondered how someone can keep a couple of half-mad pit bulls in their backyard while others are prevented from keeping chickens or rabbits?  It defies logic.  Which poses the greater public risk.....or nuisance?

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So true Gary, so true...

 

I've worked on the town leadership to help them understand that, but updating the ordinances/codes would require a vision and commitment for progress that is not present in the current council (or almost any for that matter). One day I might take it as a personal mission, but that is pretty low on the list given time restrictions and other priorities.

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The other thing about Councils is that they already have all of the compliance tools that they need to deal with people who attract vermin, create bad odours and make undue noise......without banning the keeping of chickens.

 

Do they?  I'm not sure I understand this, as I haven't lived under the rule of a council in about 15 years.  What sort of compliance tools do they have for problem animal owners?  I assume to act, the animal owner has to break a law, so there has to be a law in place for them to break. I'm not familiar enough with local ordinances to know what they have in place to deal with issues like that.  All I know is that dirty and abusive animals facilities are commonplace, and no one seems to care (outside of responsible livestock operations, like this forum). 

 

 

Have you ever wondered how someone can keep a couple of half-mad pit bulls in their backyard while others are prevented from keeping chickens or rabbits?  It defies logic.  Which poses the greater public risk.....or nuisance?

To me, this is the bigger issue.  There are plenty of problem animal owners that are not being dealt with. An across the board regulation doesn't seem to be an effective means of addressing the real problems.  Dogs are a serious problem in a lot of places.  I constantly hear of problem dogs killing chickens, rabbits, etc on facebook, and the owners of those chickens are pretty much helpless.  Sure, they can shoot the animal, but in crowded neighborhoods?  And the police don't do anything, maybe give the owner a scolding, but the dog gets returned, and the rabbits/chickens are still dead.  It happens over and over again, at least once a week on most backyard farming groups I'm a member of. Yet the councils are completely ineffective in addressing those issues.

 

Now, out here in the country, it's a whole different ballgame.  I'll never forget what the county Sheriff in Texas told me about problem animals: "shoot, shovel, and shut up"

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I'm in favour of councils "banning" roosters in Suburban areas, but the girls?...Not on....

 

I've had chicks before and as soon as they got old enough to make a noise, I chopped their heads off, terrible job IMO, but had to be done...On the farm it'll be a different matter..I still don't like roosters but that's my preference...

 

Sure, there should be totally enforceable health laws, in regards to cleanliness of chook houses and what they leave behind...Free range is more problematical... It's not nice having a smelly chook house, with the attraction of flies and nasties included in the mix....But to wholesale ban the animal?...Not on...Dogs and cats have issues as well which are not adequately dealt with...

 

In our area, (Suburban Adelaide) foxes are a problem...I'm fortunate enough not to have them come around to my back yard, because it's most difficult for them to do it, but out the front particularly once a week on bin night We know they are about....

 

Cheers.

Edited by bigdaddy (see edit history)

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HI,

 

Do they?  I'm not sure I understand this, as I haven't lived under the rule of a council in about 15 years.  What sort of compliance tools do they have for problem animal owners?

 

I guess it depends a little on where you live but most councils have health inspectors to deal with health issues (including vermin management, odour control, etc)......and building inspectors to deal with unsafe structures.  Most councils in Australia have animal management sections that prescribe ow many of what species can be kept in a particular space/area.  While the number of dogs that can be kept in a given space is often prescribed, dogs will often be the least well managed.  As I observed before, dogs can bark all night and councils will do nothing......but let a rooster crow (even during the daylight hours) and they'll be on you like a ton of bricks.

 

In Australia, councils operate on a complaint model.  They'll generally only get off their backsides if someone complains......and then they can be fairly arbitrary about things.

 

When it comes to making noise, given the choice between revheads tuning their cars, loud parties that rage all night, barking dogs....and roosters....I'll take the roosters every time.  But that's just me.

 

Gary

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In the rural areas of Texas and Mexico where I've lived, I don't think they have council health inspectors, and if they do, they are limited to restaurants. 

For animal management, the most I've ever seen is animal control, which is usually a high school dropout that catches stray cats (no offense to animal control).  They are neither qualified, nor equipped to deal with real animal issues.  So, the majority of complaints in rural areas go through the Sheriff's office, again, someone who is not an expert in animal handling or management.  The Sheriff is usually pretty good when it comes to cases where animals destroy property or cause damage, but as far as hygiene or animal abuse, I haven't ever been very impressed by the sheriffs in Texas.  But, to their credit, they are not experts in those areas.

A common thing in the southern US and northern Mexico are cock and dog fights.  A lot of abuse goes on in the raising of those animals, and I have seen a great number of them first hand.  They usually keep the breeding/raising part of the operation just outside the city limits to avoid any issues.  But their neighbors still have to deal with hundreds of roosters crowing, dead carcasses everywhere, starved and highly aggressive dogs, etc.  I once asked a Sheriff in Texas why they didn't put a stop to those operations, as they are highly obvious.  His reply? "it ain't against the law to have dogs"

So, that's the mentality in a lot of areas.  I agree that bans don't work, but I'd like to see some sort of expert department/personnel address the real problems with animals, because they are there and in some areas, very common. Councils are no experts, and neither are the police/law enforcement.

We basically need a Steve Irwin in every city.
 

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Things are clearly very different in Mexico and Texas to most urban areas of Australia.

 

If you staged a dogfight in Australia, and you got caught, you'd be in a world of pain.  Not only would the police be on your case but, if you had the misfortune to stage it near my place (and I became aware of it), you would have the added burden of digging an arrow out of your arse.  I rate people who are cruel to dogs, and child molesters, similarly.

 

Gary

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Hi Velecreations,

 

In My part of the world, we have strong cruelty to animal laws...We have an organisation called the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) who will move in and charge people if reported and caught...Unfortunately Sometimes people within the organisation who are high ranking get involved with political ideology and that puts a bad slant on the organisation and causes unnecessary grief to people IMO, but that's another issue/s altogether....The basic business of the organisation is good....

 

The RSPCA will step in and get involved if any chook abuse is reported...Cock fights have long been illegal, same with dog fights and the like...

 

I think bans should be there as a last resort, when other avenues have been exhausted and or not practical...Kind of like jail sentences....Unfortunately our powers that be use the ban and jail path far to frequently and readily for control and those actions render banning useless in a lot of cases

 

We have specialist snake catchers as we have some of the most deadly and venomous snakes in the world here...Residents are absolutely encouraged to contact the council if they see a snake in their yards...

 

Did you know that here, council health inspectors are allowed to enter private residents if it is a source of major food safety concern...The practicality of that is problematical at best, and I do not know of people who have had that happen to them...When I was in the food business... Council inspectors would inspect in general once a year at a cost of around  $100.00 per visit, if they had minor concerns you would be told to remedy it and they will be back within a nominated period of time to inspect at another cost of $100.00, then, depending on the problem they will be back 3 monthly, 6 monthly and 12 monthly all at a cost of $100.00 per visit...If it is major breach then you will get charged and fined for thousands or 10,000 s or much more plus costs depending on severity....I'm happy to say, I never had an issue, and enjoyed a good relationship with them...

 

Cheers.

Edited by bigdaddy (see edit history)

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For better or worse, the county I live in requires a "special use permit" for animal husbandry on all non-agriculture zoned lots/properties.  There are times when this seems like a silly requirement, but at the end of the day, it's probably a good thing.  They rarely turn down an application, so just about anyone who wants some chickens can have them, but they can revoke a permit if the chickens become a significant nuisance (basically if they are poorly managed and cause issues for neighbors).  A lot of people raise chickens around here on small plots... even in downtown Kansas City (densely populated neighborhoods).  It's the cat hoarders who are the problem around here, and you don't need any permits for that.  hehehe... 

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Kellen,

 

Would you able to get your hands on the specific ordinances and special use permit? It might be nice to have as another tool of persuasion to influence my town board.

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Things are clearly very different in Mexico and Texas to most urban areas of Australia.

 

If you staged a dogfight in Australia, and you got caught, you'd be in a world of pain.  Not only would the police be on your case but, if you had the misfortune to stage it near my place (and I became aware of it), you would have the added burden of digging an arrow out of your arse.  I rate people who are cruel to dogs, and child molesters, similarly.

 

Gary

 

They are illegal, as is cockfighting in those areas, but it doesn't matter.  It still happens, and it's rare that anyone is busted.  It also involves lots of underground gambling.  Everyone knows the people involved in it, because they have huge farms that raise only fighting roosters or aggressive pit bulls.  I would even venture to say that authorities might be paid off (very common in places like Texas).

 

It's truly disgusting, but the councils do very little about it.  Occasionally, the Sheriff department will bust a fight, but we're talking maybe once a year or once every 2 years, and rumor has it that they go on every weekend. The real danger are those dogs, when they get loose, they are a threat to livestock and people.  It's not the breed, per se, it's the conditions and years of abuse that make them so dangerous. There's only one cure, and that's killing them on site, unfortunately.  I've had to kill my share of feral dogs in my life, and it's not something I ever want to do.  Unfortunately, it's one of those things, you just have to kill them, they are too dangerous to be left alive.

 

In my mind, these kind of issues are what the councils should be focused on.  I've never seen a child mauled by a laying hen.  If they can't keep the abuse under control, the dangers under control, and the real villains behind bars, then they have no business regulating people who are doing things right.

In rural Texas, and most of the southwest US and Northern Mexico, they have cruelty to animal laws, but outside of the cities, they are rarely, if ever enforced.

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Hi Abe,

 

In my mind, these kind of issues are what the councils should be focused on.  I've never seen a child mauled by a laying hen.  If they can't keep the abuse under control, the dangers under control, and the real villains behind bars, then they have no business regulating people who are doing things right.

 

I agree…..absolutely!  

 

In rural Texas, and most of the southwest US and Northern Mexico, they have cruelty to animal laws, but outside of the cities, they are rarely, if ever enforced.

 

And this is my central point.  Councils/counties invariably have everything they need to prosecute people who are not doing the right thing.  Laws don't count for anything if they are not applied.

 

Since they already have health, development and animal cruelty laws, they shouldn't require silly little by-laws banning the keeping of chickens.

 

At the end of the day, it's our own fault.  We invariably get the government we deserve……unless we're prepared to stand up to the buggers and punish their stupidity.

 

Gary

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Heh,   one of the judges son's in a Texas county was a key player in the local cockfighting "ring", so calling in on someone was more likely to cause that person trouble than the cock fighter.   The "funny" thing is everybody seemed to know it, but he kept getting re-elected. As Forest Gump would say, "that's all I have to say about that". (I think he's still alive)

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That's the Texas ol' boys club. And the truth is, there are hundreds more like him. From drug runners to human traffickers, some of the worst criminals in Texas are elected officials. ESPECIALLY at the county level. If anyone is interested in that topic, do research into the "cash for freedom" scams in a lot of Texas municipalities.

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