Plano Is Unmoved by Push to Legalize Backyard Chickens

Categories: Animal Welfare

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The debate should have been settled long ago. Backyard hens are surprisingly well suited to urban and suburban environments. They are quiet and unobtrusive, pose little more of a health risk than a house cat, and are a prolific source of high-quality, sustainably produced eggs. There was a time when I would have argued differently, but then my wife went out one day and (surprise!) came home with a handful of chicks. Pretty quickly, my resentment melted into grudging affection.

For the most part, North Texas cities that banned residential chicken-keeping have reached the same conclusion and reversed themselves in the face of the current backyard-chicken boom. But not Plano.

Chickens are banned in the city for a variety of reasons, said Animal Services Manager Jamey Cantrell.

"Just having the chickens is a major attractant to other wildlife who want to eat the chickens, like bobcats, raccoons, possums and coyotes," Cantrel told the Plano Star-Courier. "We work very hard to try and educate people on how not to attract wildlife to their neighborhoods, and by putting chickens back there you are basically opening up a buffet."

He listed other concerns as well: noise, mice and rats, a lack of chicken equipment at the animal shelter.

Cantrell was responding to a new push to legalize backyard chickens in Plano. It's being headed by a resident named Jay Gardner, as CBS 11's Susy Solis reports while literally holding a chicken. There's a Facebook page and there will soon be a petition.

It might take more than that.

"It's gonna be tough sledding for them," says Dan Probst, the proprietor of Bageniece Farms and a backyard-chicken evangelist who's lobbied several cities to lift chicken bans. His first stab at Plano came seven or eight years ago, but city staff "just dismissed me very politely." Then, three or four years later, a petition he and others delivered to City Hall "got swallowed up in some city office" and disappeared.

A year ago, he says the city published a list on its website (it appears to have since been taken down) explaining why keeping chickens in residential areas is a bad idea.

"Then if you go into analyzing that rant ... all the reasons why not are generally viral or bacterial," Probst says. "If you go to the CDC website and cross-reference what they're saying, it doesn't hold water."

He sees some signs that the city's opposition has thawed somewhat since he first approached them. He points to the newly established farmers market as a positive sign. "Maybe the light bulb is starting to turn on up there that knowing what you eat isn't such a bad idea after all."

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46 comments
Lisa Reid West
Lisa Reid West

It is strange that a lot of that retired age group is very resistant to people these days doing things that were probably fairly common when they grew up. Then they want to tell ya about "the good 'ol days", while stopping anything that looks anything like those 'ol days. It's kinda weird. No chickens is just one. they also want more lanes for more and more cars, no money or space for public transportation or bikes or walking, nothing as a choice for housing but mono mcmansions stamped out far as the eye can see, is what they seem to be for.I find it very strange.

lzippitydoo
lzippitydoo

Not an eggcellent idea! Chickens are a mess and wreck backyards. Go to Whole Foods or out to the free range to get your chickens/egg! A better plan would be to have a central chicken co-op in Plano (right next to city hall). Everyone could rent a coup and show up to get eggs or chicken sandwich (a Chic-fil-et would be next door too). Florence Shapiro would be the chick-egg-attendent at the co-op and there would be no need for backyard legislation.

Branson Heinz
Branson Heinz

Im not saying I agree or disagree with Plano's decision, but I can understand why they have it. Since I moved in 18 months ago, Ive had three neighbors who had pets who were eaten (with carcasses found).

Ryan Bauer
Ryan Bauer

So if they're already encroaching without chickens, I doubt it'll be worse with chickens. Plus, the chickens are largely kept in coops protected with hardware cloth, which effectively deters most small carnivores.

Branson Heinz
Branson Heinz

Actually, you do in parts of Plano that are immidiately adjacent to parks with wooded areas. I live right next to one and I see it often.

Ryan Bauer
Ryan Bauer

So, if people start to keep chickens in backyard coops, the predators will invade? Puh-lease. Backyard chickens are primarily kept in coops, which protect them from predators. There are plenty of cats and squirrels running around Plano, but you don't see those predators invading because of those nice hot lunches.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Chickens are less annoying to neighbors than most any dog.  Except, of course, for the roosters, who are about as annoying.  Yeah, if your neighbor has gone "industrial scale," that can be a problem on par with any folks who keep WAY TOO MANY pets in a suburban locale.


Branson Heinz
Branson Heinz

Plano and Highland Park are not similar outside the far western and southern sides of Plano. Most of Plano is middle class, to upper-middle class and very ethnically diverse. Highland Park is not like that.

Branson Heinz
Branson Heinz

Sounds like many of the comments below are by people who dont really know the city. Plano has a huge amount of parks per square mile, moreso than Dallas. Because of that, you tend to get large numbers of coyotes, bobcats, and birds of prey. I see them a couple of times a week when I go running in the morning. We cant even keep our cats outside without having them eaten in a short period of time. As a resident of Plano, I can see the conern.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

If I knew how taste-free eggs would become I would have started an egg ranch thirty years ago.  To have natural, salmonella-less fresh eggs from happy, contented hens on hand, would be a colossal delight.  Imagine whipping up your own mayonnaise and Hollandaise.  A little store to sell the precious eggs and the jarred products from them would be sweet.

Jim Davis
Jim Davis

No one in Plano needs chickens. Go to Costco and get eggs and chicken...

pooua
pooua

The "Live Green in Plano" Spring fair earlier this year featured a chicken exhibit that was sponsored by the City of Plano. The vendor said the city is investigating the issue, and he pointed out that their sponsoring him is a good sign.

JohnNeelyBryan
JohnNeelyBryan

At what point do they just change the name of the city to Lame-o? 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Bike down the Santa Fe Trail in the early morning and listen to all the roosters.  That will give you some indication of just how many chicken coops there are in our fair city.

It's cultural.

Cameron Epley
Cameron Epley

Well that's dumb, trying to prevent the general public from self sustainability...

Rudy Cruz
Rudy Cruz

Keep voting for closed-minded retirees for city council and expect antiquated ordinances.

Jennifer James McNeil
Jennifer James McNeil

i grew up at preston and forest and we had about 8 hens and one rooster at all times. it was great. the donkey down the street was outlawed, however.

Vicki Scott
Vicki Scott

Ha Ha - you think this is going to be hard to get passed in Plano ???....imagine over here in the Highland Park 'hood.... Not even worth trying - they laughed at me when I called to ask if it was permitted in the first place - sad....

Jeremy Tibbals
Jeremy Tibbals

Outlawing the raising of chickens is about as stupid as outlawing the collection of rain water. Not only is the federal government fisting us, but of course our local governments are as well.

chloechloe
chloechloe

@lzippitydoo What do you care if it's not your backyard?  Besides I have friends with a few chickens and a coop and their backyard, and the coop, are all very well maintained. Plus the eggs have the most rich orange-yellow yolks I've ever seen. They taste good and look so beautiful.

ryan762
ryan762

@Ryan Bauer Classic Poe!

skellmeyer
skellmeyer

It's in Obamacare. Everyone is required to own a chicken. If you don't have a chicken, you can be fined.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@JohnNeelyBryan 

I've always thought that they could just replace the "l" with an "i" and call it Piano.

Plano is just so . . .plain. Piano, on the other hand, is grand!

d-may
d-may

@holmantx Roosters are not allowed in the City of Dallas.

robstave
robstave

@casiepierce@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

 Free range eggs are far superior. The yolk is way richer and so much more color.  And I realize that sometimes "Free Range" can be twisted into a product by the food folks as easily as "Organic".  Im talking about eggs straight from the coop.

"The first shipments from the U.S. have already arrived at Mexico City's huge wholesale warehouse and are helping to stabilize prices. But egg vendor Adrian Hernandez says his clients don't like the U.S. imports; they tell him the American eggs don't have any flavor, and that the yolks are pale."

 http://www.weku.fm/post/its-no-yolk-mexicans-cope-egg-shortage-price-spikes

JohnNeelyBryan
JohnNeelyBryan

@CitzenKim You can call me a jackwagon, which is probably fairly accurate, but you can't offer up any evidence Plano isn't lame. Because that too is fairly accurate.

rzimmerman1
rzimmerman1

@d-may @holmantx 

Dallas will never be a "world class city" until we all have chickens running around in our yards!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@d-may @holmantx 

Oh well then nevermind! (ha!).

it's not enforced.

not even REMOTELY enforced.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

I have heard this from many women.

roo_ster
roo_ster

@larry.johnsonjr @CogitoErgoSum Lots of chickens _and_ coyotes in Richardson.  I have several family friends in Richardson who keep chickens.  I have also seen coyotes in every part of the town.  Folks with well-maintained wooden privacy fences will have no trouble from coyotes, as long as the fence goes to or a little into the ground.  A much greater threat is big raptors like hawks & big owls.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

So what? There will always be scofflaws. Does that mean chickens (not roosters) should remain banned? The only decent reason listed by the city is predators. Then again, I don't really think suburbia will be overrun with coyotes or bobcats hunting for backyard chickens locked away in coops.

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