On July 2 the Chattanooga City Council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance that will change City Code to allow single – family homeowners to have up to eight chickens in a coop in their yard. As recommended by the Animal Control Board, these chickens must be permitted through McKamey Animal Center for a $100 fee The annual renewal fee is $10. The chicken owner must allow McKame Animal to do an initial onsite inspection of their property and coop. There will not be any other inspections performed unless McKamey Animal receives a complaint regarding the chickens on a specific property.
McKamey Animal officials have stated in a discussion to the Council that their estimated costs for implementation of a program to support chickens will be $300 per permit. This estimated cost for implementation and enforcement is two-thirds more than the revenue this program generates in permit fees. The difference will have to be absorbed by taxpayers, most of who do not want this ordinance. McKamey Animal will also have to have coops on their property to take chickens when they are no longer wanted by owners who thought having chickens would be a good idea. McKamey Animal will further be tasked with the enforcement of laws regarding chickens. This enforcement will be difficult at best. This adds to the scope of work for McKamey Animal. I would rather see this organization continue to focus on domestic animals already covered in our city code.
I have heard no discussion regarding the company that chickens and eggs attract. They are a food source for local wildlife. For years areas of East Brainerd, North Chattanooga, Murray Hills, Big Ridge and Hixson have had serious issues with coyotes, foxes, raccoons and rats. All of these wildlife creatures surround most city neighborhoods and they become more visible and active around your home when there is a food source available. These animals prey on small pets such as cats, small dogs, and yes chickens. McKamey Animal cannot assist you in eradicating this wildlife from your neighborhood. The city of Chattanooga does not have any resource to remove wildlife from your neighborhood. It would be the responsibility of the property owner experiencing wildlife concerns to engage a removal service. This is a very expensive service that will involve multiple trips.
Want to know more about backyard chickens? I refer you to the Center for Disease Control at cdc.gov/features/salmonellapoultry/. This will provide you health information regarding chickens.
In summation, a Council member reported during a recent discussion that Knoxville has only issued 37 chicken permits. The Council discussed the belief that this ordinance would be utilized by only a few. I cannot see the common sense in asking property owners in Chattanooga to supplement a program for so few and run the risk of increasing wildlife activity near their homes. If this ordinance concerns you as it does me, please contact your City Council representative and ask them to vote no on this ordinance. Many of the new Council members ran on a platform of providing you safer neighborhoods. This is a step in the wrong direction on that campaign promise. Please contact your Councilperson.
Resident – District 3
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Pam Ladd is correct. I cried "fowl" to my councilman the first time the matter was up for a vote. Please stop this madness before the problem parks next door to you.
Regardless of anyone else's argument, chickens do create an unpleasant odor, and hens occasionally "wake up on the wrong side of the bed" and fuss about it all day. My grandmother had a yard full of chickens and one of my chores was cleaning out their fenced yard. I want no more of that and I certainly want none of it next door to me.
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I spoke at length with my City Council representative about my concerns over this chicken ordinance. We talked about ringing the dinner bell for coyotes and other wildlife, about the cost to manage the situation after the initial permit is issued, the burden for McKamey, the potential effect on property values, and the safety issues with having farm animals in the back yard. Through it all he sounded like he was going to vote Yes. Said he had heard from more people who were for the issue than against.
So my message today is: If you care about this issue, one way or another, you must make your voice heard and your presence felt. Call or email your representative and/or show up at the meeting Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
Adjacent parking is free and easy after 5 p.m. and the City Council Chamber is right inside the main door on Lindsey Street.
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I also agreed with Pam Ladd. Thank you so much.
President of North Brainerd Neighborhood Association, District 5 & 9
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These letter writers all raise good points. The proposal to allow chickens to be kept inside the city limits just doesn't make sense. It solves no problems; it promotes no vital agendas, and it will end up costing the taxpayer if it passes.
It is interesting to note that at least one commissioner seems to be more interested in a poll "for" or "against" and not up to using his (or her) common sense on the issue. That's right guys, listen to the special interest groups and continue to vote the taxpayer's money down the drain!
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Really, the city has more problems than a few hens. Local government should just okay it and we move on to something else.
A few good laying hens in the back yard is fine with me, a good rooster should be also allowed.
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The oversight I haven't heard mentioned is that people keeping chickens in the city is going to cause hard feelings and conflict among neighbors. The city dwellers are not farmers and there's going to be animal neglect, noise, smells, loose chickens and other points of contention.
Are those who sit in charge of the city just simply out of touch with reality? Their response should be a unanimous No.