Animal Law

Girl Teary Over Town Board's Fowl Vote

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Two years ago, a Pennsylvania girl won a prize from her municipality’s recreation board for having the most unusual pet—a rooster.

But now, in the latest decision in a case that has been ongoing for months, the North Huntingdon Township zoning hearing board has said Melissa Hensler must get rid of her nine chickens, reports the Tribune-Review, a newspaper near Pittsburgh.The 14-year-old has been keeping chickens on her family’s one-acre property since 2001.

“I got a taste of real life,” sobbed Hensler after a hearing last night at which the board voted 3-2 against her plea to at least let her keep the chickens she already has until they die. “I hate politics and this whole government system. It needs to be changed.”

She now has 30 days to comply or file an appeal in court, but her family says they can’t afford to pay a lawyer to do so.

As discussed in an earlier post, so-called backyard chickens have been an increasingly popular pet in recent years, and some municipalities, even in highly urban areas, either have never prohibited them or have relaxed rules to allow them. Others, however, prohibit chickens in residential neighborhoods.

In North Huntingdon, residents must have 20 acres to keep chickens legally.

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