Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Chickens could be coming to a back yard near you.
Dorchester County Council voted 6-0 Wednesday in favor of reducing the acreage requirements to keep up to 10 hens or rabbits.
The ordinance change requires one more reading to be final.
Public sentiment was mostly in favor of the change.
Debbie Ainscough, though, spoke strongly against the ordinance based on her experience with a neighbor who didn’t properly care for chickens.
She gave council members photos of the mess at the neighbor’s house and described the months-long process of getting someone to clean it up.
“These people have the idea they can do whatever they want out there and we’re tired of it,” she said.
Supporters acknowledged that a few “bad eggs” made them look bad, but said that properly cared for hens don’t make noise and produce less waste than a medium-sized dog.
Supporters fell into two camps: those who emphasized the health benefits of eating fresh eggs and the chance to teach their children responsibility, and those who cited the need to be self-sufficient if the economy implodes.
Before voting, council amended the ordinance to add a provision requiring the animals to be kept in the back yard and for proper sanitation to be maintained.
Councilman David Chinnis, who initiated the ordinance, was out of town on business but observed via Skype.