Discovering local laws

Discovering local laws

Calling city hall can result in quite the run around. Here's the skinny on where to go and who to speak with.

Step 1: Check
If you haven't already yet - jump over to our search page and see if there may already be some information on your local laws.
Step 2: Visit out Municode
Great if you live in the USA. Visit Municode. Choose your state then select your town. Copy the following text:
then paste it in the search in the top right. Look for your city livestock, or similar, ordinance.
Step 3: Call Animal Control
Google "Animal Control" (or click here) and call your local animal control. Don't bother with the city clerk, or zoning, start with animal control. Once you find a real person ask "could you tell me about the city chicken keeping ordinance".
Animal Control: "We have no idea"

Sometimes the officer you will be speaking with is not presently informed on the city livestock ordinances. This is not uncommon. However you must be sure to find accurate information. So, take these steps:

1 Ask if they can direct you to a copy of the city livestock ordinance, or any other relevant ordinances. They will likely direct you to the city website - so be sure to call while you are at a computer.

2 Ask for their interpretation of relevant ordinances you have discovered together.

3 If it is clear chickens are allowed, celebrate! If they are not - ask if other citizens have called in with similar questions.

If all has gone well you'll be able to begin keeping chickens. However, if not, you'll need to move onto the next step.

Animal Control: "I sure can!"

Then chances are you live in a town where other folks, like you, have already called in. They will likely be able to give you basic information, but be persistent in your questions. Remember to ask.

1 Will I need a permit or permission? What is the permit cost?

2 Is there a maximum number of hens, and are roosters allowed?

3 Are there any coop or setback restrictions? These often deal with chicken proximity to adjoining properties.

If all has gone well you'll be able to begin keeping chickens. However, there is a chance current laws prohibit the keeping of livestock, including poultry, and you'll need to move onto the next step.

No Chickens? No Problem.

Lets be clear, getting a "No" from animal control means you cannot keep chickens. That means you have two options.

1 Petition the city to change the laws

2 Ask for special permission, and likely pay a special permit fee.

Of these options, you may actually find it best to run the bases and begin engaging in city government. Bring your kids. Let them partake in the joy of working to bring about radical change.

[under construction!] Visit the petitioning guide for a step/step walk through on what to do next.