Editor, Times-Union:
The Warsaw City Council will soon be considering whether to allow residents to raise live chicken hens. This proposal was recently passed by the Warsaw Planning Commission.
I was among those who asked the commission to reject this proposition. My reasons were:
1) There were valid reasons that previous city leaders banned farm animals in the city. They should examine those reasons before proceeding.
2) The advocates said they "think" it will not affect property values. They don't "know." I strongly question the reliability of just "thinking," and not "knowing" this important issue.
3) They said that chicken deposits don't stink. Well, we all know it does. Smelly feces and urine must be washed away or picked up as deposited. Who is really going to do that?
4) They claim hens aren't noisy. They are noisy. Even a cat walking by will be deemed by the chickens as a predator, and they will loudly cluck and flop their wings.
5) Suggestions for coops and fencing were discussed. How can that ever be regulated? Lots of us face our neighbor's back yards. Without requiring a privacy fence or shrub barrier, neighbors would be facing unsightly chicken coops and chicken wire, encompassing noisy, stinking chickens.
6) Slaughtering chickens is messy and, likely for a child, a frightening sight. You chop off the head, and unless you tie the legs (they're frequently not), the headless bodies run around the yard, blood squirting out of their necks. For a few seconds, the eyes continue blinking. It is a gruesome sight. I've witnessed it.
For several years while growing up, I lived on my grandparent’s farm. They had a few chickens. It was fun watching them, eating fresh eggs, and enjoying the benefits of a range chicken dinner. But chickens do stink, they are noisy, and they encourage predators like hawks, coyote, and raccoons. If they don't get the chicken, they could just as easily prey on your small dog or cat. Another hazard, unless their wings are clipped, they can fly short distances. Some call it a "power hop." Additionally, according to recent research, disease control and prevention is essential in order to maintain a healthy flock. Again, who is going to monitor that?
I strongly believe in property rights, and I also understand why some would want to have chickens. However, I never imagined that in a city, with so many citizens taking such exceptional pride in ownership, elected officials would even consider this proposal. Approving this would be giving up a current protection provided by the city, and the desire for annexation would certainly be diminished.
Please come to the council meeting and voice your concern, or at least, contact your city council representative. Urge them to vote NO on this issue. Their contact information can be found at http://warsaw.in.gov
Live chickens just do not belong in town.
Thank you,
Mike Ragan
Warsaw, via email