For three hours at a City Council meeting, residents clucked over the latest debate ruffling feathers here: Should homeowners be allowed to keep chickens in their backyards?
The chicken fight began last summer, when a neighbor snitched on Barbara Palermo to city authorities for keeping four pet hens in a backyard coop. Chickens and other livestock aren't allowed in Salem backyards where land isn't zoned for agricultural use. A city compliance officer knocked on Ms. Palermo's door to tell her she had to get rid of her pet birds.
Ms. Palermo is part of a debate that's playing out in several cities across the country. The 51-year-old veterinarian's assistant says she's stunned by the opposition. It's hypocritical that Salem residents can keep potbellied pigs weighing under 100 pounds, she says. "They generate a lot of poo and don't give you eggs...so it's ridiculous when you ask for a hen and people panic."
During the two world wars, many cities encouraged residents to grow their own food and to keep chickens. But restrictions have cropped up in the past 50 years as urbanization reached deeper into the countryside. Salem allowed residents to keep livestock, including chickens, until the 1970s, when it decided "to be a city and not a rural community," says Chuck Bennett, a City Council member who opposes allowing backyard chickens.
Read the whole article here: Some City Folk Are Mad as Wet Hens When Chickens Come Home to Roost.