By Susan Bromley
Ortonville- The village chickens have been granted a stay.
They weren’t necessarily going to be served for dinner, but the fowl may have been served eviction notices from the village without the council’s decision to consider alterations to a current ordinance.
“The chickens can stay for now,” said Councilmember Keith Dylus, with other councilmembers in agreement at their June 26 meeting.
The decree was preceded by some neighbors on Candace Court pecking at each other regarding the birds.
“I’m asking for the chickens to be cooped,” said Carol Dietrich at the meeting. “They are not fenced and sometimes chickens and dogs are in the street. I don’t want to hit them.”
Karen Anderson, the owner of the alleged offending chickens, responded by saying the birds don’t go in the street and she is always out with her dogs and chickens when they are roaming free. When she is not home, she said the chickens are cooped.
Bonnie Gabriel said the animals block exit from the cul-de-sac and she has seen Anderson’s chickens digging through the neighbor’s flowerbeds and it is troublesome to hear roosters crowing in the neighborhood.
“I’m surprised they can hear our roosters,” replied Anderson. “People drive fast down the street, there are only five houses. If you drove a reasonable speed, this wouldn’t be an issue. Dogs and chickens aren’t the only issue.”The current animal ordinance, which dates to 1982, only states that it is “unlawful for any person to keep or allow to be kept within the village any cows, horses, pigs, goats, pigeons, chickens, geese, ducks or any other animal, fowl or insect except birds, dogs, cats or other harmless and domesticated household pets.”
Village Manager David Trent plans to fix the chicken issue by submitting a proposed draft ordinance that will incorporate recommendations that he and Building Official Bill Dinnan are compiling, which include a proposed one-time chicken registration fee of $50, a maximum of six chickens, no roosters, compliance with 10-foot setbacks from property lines, and a requirement that chickens be properly contained in a coop structure or penned area.
A first reading of the proposed ordinance change would be at the next village council meeting, 7 p.m., July 24, at the township offices, 395 Mill St.
By Susan Bromley