City's changes for chickens ruffle feathers

Chicken lovers are clucking over proposed changes to the city?s rules on backyard fowl.

Chicken lovers are clucking over proposed changes to the city’s rules on backyard fowl.

City code currently allows three chickens, but many pet owners admit they are over the limit.

Frank Rocha is a member of the Facebook group “Backyard Pet Chickens in San Antonio,” which has more than 3,800 members.

"People are afraid that people are going to come take their chickens away from them," Rocha said.

"There are a lot of chicken people in San Antonio and we're talking about people who look at their chickens as pets, who love them as much as they love their dogs and cats, who just want to be able to keep a healthy flock of say six to ten little chickens in their backyard," Rocha said.

Rocha said people like chickens because they are fun to watch and they provide many benefits.

“They will turn your compost pile. They provide you with fresh eggs that are much better and much healthier than what you can buy in a grocery store and they'll eat bugs. There's any number of benefits to them including their poop is some of the best fertilizer you can get,” Rocha said.

Rocha said there are already ordinances on the books that apply to potential problems like sanitation and free roaming animals.

“For example, if there is a rooster crowing at 5:00 o'clock in the morning, it's no different than a dog barking at 2:00 a.m. or somebody playing loud music at 3:00 a.m. There's a noise ordinance that covers that,” Rocha said.

The city’s Animal Care Services division has been taking input on rule changes for months.

Now, draft recommendations would limit the number of hens to just three and increase other restrictions like minimum distances between coops and houses.   

Rocha said members of his group are actively advocating for more lenient rules. 

Rocha said, "We just don't think that's fair because that punishes responsible pet owners."

Rocha said San Antonio should follow the lead of other major Texas cities and encourage people to keep backyard chickens.

There are other big changes in the works as well, including pet rules about spay/neuter, tethering, excess and dangerous animals.

The next input session is Wednesday at 2:00 pm on the south side at the Roosevelt Club House at 331 Roosevelt Avenue. 

There is also a survey on the Animal Care website.

For more information about animal care issues, click here

© 2017 KENS-TV


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