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Should city residents be allowed to keep chickens?

August 12th, 2011 8:29 am by Staff Report

As Press staff writer Amanda Marsh reported in Wednesday’s paper, a Johnson City resident has formed a group to push for a change in the city’s ordinance to allow residents to keep chickens.
Emily Katt formed the COOP (Chickens On Our Property) Group after city officials forced her to get rid of her family’s back yard laying hens. The COOP Group has a Facebook page and members are planning to attend City Commission meetings to rally support for their cause.
Chickens are becoming an increasingly common sight in many urban areas across the country. Rising food prices, along with a desire to get back to organic foods, has more Americans determined to keep a few laying hens on their property.
But keeping such fowl could run afoul of city regulations. Most municipalities, including Johnson City, have traditionally forbidden residents from keeping farm animals inside its corporate limits. Chickens and other barnyard creatures are said to attract rodents and other pests, not to mention they often smell and make disturbing noises.
Last year, city commissioners discussed allowing laying hens to be kept inside the city’s limits. In the end, commissioners decided to let the current prohibition stand.
We’d like to hear from you on the subject. Should Johnson City residents be allowed to keep chickens in the city?
You can “Sound off” on this topic by sending your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717 Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification.
We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.

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