DC mayor wants to ban backyard chickens

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has withdrawn her proposal to ban raising backyard chickens.

WASHINGTON, DC - A Chevy Chase family is bracing for future legal battles to keep their family pets.

Acting on an anonymous complaint last year, D.C.'s department of health gave Daniel McInnis and his wife, Allison Sheedy, 48 hours notice to get rid of the family's four backyard hens.

McInnis and his wife are both lawyers and argued they weren’t breaking any laws.

“We had the chickens for three years, and then we were cited,” said McInnis. “They said the only thing we could do was to sue them, which we did. Once we sued them, they understood that we were right, and they settled and gave us a one year license.

Now, that settlement may not matter.

In this year's budget, Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to make the laws around backyard chicken coops clear: by making it illegal to keep chickens in the city.

The locavore food trend for backyard chicken coops has detractors. Some say the birds are a health hazard and attract pests.

In cities like Brooklyn, Seattle and Madison- they’re allowed. In Austin they’re even encouraged- with a 75 dollar rebate on the price of a coop.

It seems silly to outlaw something like that," said D.C. resident Greg Evans. “If somebody wants to raise a chicken, why not let them raise a chicken?”

“I don't have a problem with it,” said Philip Dishuk, another D.C. resident. ”I actually had chickens growing up in the city and fresh eggs are the best way to start a day, I think maybe if you want to ban roosters that's fine because you don't get anything productive from that and they're keeping people up in the morning." 

For McInnis, raising chickens is a way for his kids to learn about where their food comes from - they have a chicken for each of his four kids.“

By going around and sneaking into the proposed budget a prohibition on owning chickens, they are basically taking away our hobby, our children's pets," said McInnis.

He's asking supporters to contact their ward councilors before the budget is passed this summer.
 

 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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