PORTER | Resident Eric Joll told the Town Council this week he doesn't want to run a-fowl of the law and hopes the town will reconsider its current ban on raising chickens.
He is seeking a zoning change to permit chickens in areas zoned residential.
"I’ve had chickens for at least seven years and when I first got them I checked the town code and there was no ban on them. But in June there was a change and I’ve had to get rid of them, so I’m asking the town to permit chickens in a residential setting," said Joll.
He argued that chickens are good for the environment to reduce pests, they are sustainable, and they are not as much of a nuisance as many other pets.
"I don’t see why they are banned. That’s what it comes down to. I want my chickens back," he said.
Councilman David Wodrich, who happens to live across the street from Joll, said he never experienced a problem with Joll’s chickens and that he supported organic, nongenetically-engineered foods in the two restaurants that Wodrich owns.
He commended Joll with providing good nutrition for his family and he advocated for the ordinance change.
“The biggest concern is how close they are to the next house," said Elka Nelson, council president. "How many we would permit people to have? Obviously we can’t allow roosters. We would have to register them so we can check for animal cruelty, and our town not having animal jurisdiction may be something to look into.”
"I personally have a problem with it. There are certain town standards and certain country standards. When people are in a town they expect not to have farm animals,” said Councilwoman Jeannine Virtue.
Virtue said she had done some research into the “recent trend” of chickens and noted that a number of animal shelters are becoming overwhelmed with abandoned chickens, and that they can spread salmonella.
Other residents said that pets such as turtles may carry salmonella and Joll said that according to Porter’s ordinance, 25 homing pigeons are allowed per residential lot, but not a single chicken.
The council agreed to look into the proposed ordinance and discuss it at a future meeting.