I've realized lately that having this blog is a good way for me to not only get out my daily musings, but it's a place to bring up issues in my life or the world around me. And this is one of those moments when I come to my readers to ask for your help and support.
Last week I attended a Edmonds City Council Committee meeting because I wanted to inquire about raising the number of chickens that could be kept in an Edmonds backyard. I e-mailed two different city council members...and only one e-mailed me back(poor form for the one who didn't even respond). As you know from an earlier post...the council recently had a situation on their hands with the change to the leash law, to include cats. This being said...I'm sure that it wasn't the best time to be bringing up chickens, but its never the right time.
I went into this meeting as prepared as I could be. I had a list of all the cities from Marysville south to Tacoma that allow chickens within their city limits with the number allowed and any special restrictions. I also called and spoke to the "Code Enforcement Guy" (as he referred to himself as) along with Animal Control for the city of Edmonds. Neither department could give me an upfront answer when I asked how many complaints in the last year were logged regarding chickens. The Code Enforcement guy said that they get about 1/2 a dozen a year. The Animal Control guy said that they get a few, but not as many as they get on cats and dogs.
With this information in hand I went down to the meeting. I had my three minutes at the beginning of the meeting, but I could tell that it was falling on deaf ears. One of the council members, the one who e-mailed me back, thanked me for the information but said that I need to get more "chicken people" and then bring this back to the city council. It was also brought up that the city of Edmonds allows 5 domestic animals per household...included in this number are dogs, cats, birds and fish. Let's see...I have 2 dogs...2 finches...and 6 fish. I guess I should be prepared for Code Enforcement to be knocking on my door. :) The council member also told me she received quite a few calls about this even making it on the agenda. The Chief (I can only assume Chief of Police) called her, and several other people.
Why are chickens such a hot button issue? I would honestly rather have 5 chickens next door as opposed to 5 dogs that bark all day...or 5 cats that run loose around the neighborhood. I also find it funny that so many people higher up in the city government have such issues, but none of them could provide me with the numbers when I asked for them. What is the issue?
While at the grocery store tonight I saw the city council member. She asked if I had a chance to contact the gentleman she told me about after the meeting. She also said that another gentleman who attended the meeting (not sure what he does...I don't know who any of the other people were to be honest) e-mailed her the next day thanking her for telling me to get more people...in essence stalling me. He also sent her the three recent chicken noise complaints. I would love to see the most recent dog or cat reports.
I wish that I could get the numbers that I asked for, or that the higher up members of the city government who have such issues with chickens would be forthright with me about these issues. In this day and age where many people are into sustainability and eating organic...when will people realize that if you have chickens it doesn't mean you are going to have 45 that run loose around the neighborhood. I'm asking for 5 chickens...I don't think that is an unreasonable number considering the city of Seattle allows 8!
So here is where I call out to all my "peeps." Are there any of you readers who live in the city of Edmonds that would be willing to stand with me at a city council committee meeting in support of raising the number of chickens? If so, please shoot me a quick e-mail at email@example.com ! :) You can also send an e-mail to the city council as well firstname.lastname@example.org . I understand that it is the job of the council to do what is best for the city, but I ask that they really look at this and not brush me off.
Until next time...Keep Cooking!