Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chicken Lovers Unite!

What a great day! Early this morning I went to Roswell City Hall to support Andrew Wordes who had a court case in defense of having backyard chickens. Seems the way the City's ordinance is written he can have them, the City thinks otherwise.

Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes took on the case and came to represent Andrew. Along with 50 or so of us fellow chicken lovers. It was a great sight to see. Most all of us were dressed in yellow shirts with large buttons saying I Love Chickens.

Also in attendance was every news outlet from every major network, CNN, Joan Durbin of the Neighbor News, Hatcher Hurd of Appen News, and many others. The City had created a chicken stink and we were there to make sure the stink only comes from wet manure in our gardens.

You should have heard all of us talking about our beloved chickens and the joy from raising them for fresh eggs and even companionship. They make excellent pets.

Thee case of the chickens is not over. We must go back in May as the case was delayed in order to allow the City more time to discuss the wording of ordinance and whatever else they do legally. Personally I think it might have to do more with public relations. I'm fairly certain they enjoyed having Barnes in their courtroom.

Thank Goodness for Milton's AG-1 zoning! May it live on forever.

Here are a few photos....

Andy Schneider aka The Chicken Whisperer

Andrew Wordes, "The Defendant" and Proud Chicken Lover

Our Buttons of Support

Our Signs of Support

Kathleen Smith, Milton Resident and Chicken Owner

Denise Moss (in green), Milton Resident and Chicken Lover

Hatcher Hurd, Appen Newspapers (Milton Herald)

Alison Byrnes (in red), Milton Resident and Proud Chicken Owner

Jenelle with her sweet Beauregard

Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes with Andy and Andrew at Press Conference

Words from The Chicken Whisperer, and why we were there...
About a month ago Andrew received a warning from Roswell Code Enforcement that keeping backyard pet chickens was unlawful in the City of Roswell. Andrew and myself looked into it, and noticed that there were no laws that clearly or specifically stated that a City of Roswell resident could not keep backyard pet chickens. After several phone calls and visits to the city regarding this matter, it was determined that the one area in the code it stated anything about poultry was written poorly, and did not specifically state a resident could not have backyard pet chickens. Code Enforcement disagreed so we requested a meeting with the Mayor’s office. During our meeting with the Mayor of Roswell, Jerry Wood (who also happens to be an attorney), he also stated that he saw nowhere in the Roswell code that prevented Roswell residents from keeping backyard pet chickens. Then more City of Roswell officials joined in the meeting, and the Mayor told them the same thing! At one point the Mayor told the city officials “they were really reaching” regarding the current wording of the current code regarding poultry. The Mayor also stated and I quote, “ If I were you (talking to Andrew) I would get my citation, hire an attorney, and come kick the city’s ass.” It was also mentioned that Andrew should try to have the law changed to allow the keeping of backyard pet chickens, but again the Mayor stated, “There is no law to change because according to the current code he can have backyard pet chickens”. At that point we all got up and the meeting was adjourned. Well, as stated in our last posting about this case this is far from over. That became a reality on Tuesday when Andrew got a citation from the Code Enforcement Officer for keeping backyard pet chickens unlawfully.