I’m a girly-girl. I like fashion, conservative politics and my puppies. I’m young by most standards and am still in the phase of my life where I’m “doing me”. I work hard but most days I can’t walk away from a good pair of Vera Wang boots. So you can imagine my own surprise when I became so passionate about chickens…..Yes, chickens.
Of course it all started with a very special friend named Andrew Wordes. And it certainly wasn’t just about chickens. But chickens were the start of it and chickens were the end of it. A select neighbor, and then the City of Roswell, did not want chickens on Andrews property. They said the chicks and hens were a nuisance (but a couple pigs were okay!). They tried to enforce new ordinances, take him to court and ultimately harassed him to the brink of him taking his own life. Certainly not all cases (at least the ones we hear about) end up this way- and thank God for that. But we see it all over the state and the country. Right here in a Cobb County, a man is a facing is own battle with the county.
Residents in South Carolina, Nebraska and Rhode Island, among many others, are speaking out for the right to do as they please on their own property. A man up north was fined $5,200 for growing cucumbers in his yard and a homeowner in Orlando was given only a few days to dig up his garden because he ‘violated city codes’ on crop growing. And most outrageously, a couple was fined $1,650 for their noisy toddler in a condo complex. All were labeled ‘nuisances’.
Let’s consider a few aspects of what a nuisance is…
1.) Are chickens in your neighbors yard affecting whether you eat, sleep, breathe, work, produce, or live your life?—NO. Only roosters are loud.
2) Are chickens in your neighbors yard a health hazard? — NO. Yes, they do their dootie, but so do dogs. Most chicken owners keep their coops and backyards neat and clean. Rarely does one receive a health code violation.
3) Are chickens coops an eye sore? –NO. And if it’s in the backyard, who gives a darn?
4) Why does it bother you if someone has a garden on their property? It’s better than overgrown weeds and brush or trash and if you’re a good neighbor, you’d likely get some nice produce.
5) Does the sound of a child’s laughter really grind your behind THAT much? In the middle of the day?!?
What it comes down to is a bunch of snooty suburbanites who simply can’t handle the idea of their precious community have any characteristics of farms, whether it be animals, coops or crops. Homeowners associations are a nasty excuse for “acceptable” regulation. Why should you dictate what I do on my property? If I want to garden, I should garden. If I want to raise chickens, I should raise chickens. If I want to have a goat and play with it in the backyard of my suburban house in my Vera Wang boots while my toddler is laughing and jumping around, then I should do so. Without the intervention, permission, regulation, oversight or taxation of any level of government.
I’ll never forgive or forget what the City of Roswell did to Andrew. It was despicable and nothing short of tragic. But I’m asking you to think twice before you get your panties in a wad over what someone else is doing on their property. What happened to love thy neighbor? Why have we become this pathetic dependent on government to solve even the smallest disputes? I thought property rights were one of our very core foundations? Privacy? Freedom? At the end of the day, it may be about chickens for you…but for the person with the chickens, or the garden, or the toddler, it’s about property, protection and personal liberty. The federal government can tax us and control many of our activities, but we are most vulnerable at the local level– where no one is paying attention.