Friday, January 7, 2011

Her Town Took Her Pet Chickens Away!

Usually, I just mind my own business and don't get involved, but this is a compelling story . . .

A lady from a small town in New York was having a hard time. She had been diagnosed with cancer, and her chances weren't looking good at all.

In an effort to give her something else to think about (and something to live for), her husband decided to get her a gift. What was it? Well it sure was right down my alley, and yours too, if you're a pet chicken enthusiast!

He brought her 11 baby chicks! Well, as you can imagine, it didn't take long at all for her to fall madly in love with 'em. She named them, spent tons of time with 'em and sometime in there, she found out she'd been mis-diagnosed -- she didn't have cancer, after all! But, she did have some kind of bacterial infection that had damaged her lungs, and had surgery to remove the damaged area. Hope I'm recalling the details right.

What's important right now, is this!

Even though her husband checked the codes in their town (just like all the books tell us to do) to make sure it was kosher to have a few hens as pets (and there was no code at that time covering chickens), they've had those chickens taken away from them. The reason? A judge says they're "farm animals" and that they don't fall under the "pet" category.

Now, the couple has a fine levied against them for $4,000, in addition to their loss of the pet chickens.

You can read the news story and see the accompanying video by clicking below:

http://www.wten.com/global/story.asp?s=13783920

Since this lady, Brenda Helm,  saw my website about the hobby of keeping chickens as pets, she contacted me to ask if I'd be willing to write a letter to the judge explaining the growing popularity of this great hobby. She wanted me to let them know that chickens are regarded by many as more than "just farm animals". I said, "You Bet"! Why? Well, first of all, since the town had no codes in place at the time her husband got her the baby chicks, at the very least I thought this couple should be allowed to be grandfathered in, as they say. Second, the judge is obviously not aware that chickens are regarded as pets by so many people. Read the definition of "pets" below, then maybe you'll feel moved to write a short note to the judge, too, on this lady's behalf.

Please take a minute to check out the link below! If you do feel moved to help by writing to the judge, these people can certainly use (and will appreciate) your help! They're filing an appeal and you could make the difference in whether they get to bring these pet chickens back home.

The address is:
Stephen F. Swinton, JR.
Town Justice
One Niskayuna Circle
Niskayuna, N.Y. 12309

In my letter, I cited:

  • The dictionary definition of a "PET" -- "an animal that is tamed or domesticated and kept as a companion or treated with fondness; kept or treated as a pet (a pet duck)"

  • The fact that many hatcheries are shipping small numbers of baby chicks (from 3-10) to accomodate those who live in town and want to raise pet chickens as a hobby.

  • Some quotes from The Complete idiots Guide to Raising Chickens, by Jerome D. Belanger, founder of Backyard Poultry Magazine, documenting the popularity of the 'chickens as pets' trend.

  • And, the point that, though this trend may not represent the majority, other more "fringe" ideas and lifestyles are being given great respect, protection, and even privilege, under the law. I also mentioned that many pet chicken hobbyists are saving endangered breeds, so that they can be admired and enjoyed in the future.

Brenda Helm, is, as you can imagine, sick with worry about her "babies" who've been taken away to some type of "foster home" for chickens.

You can help her get them back, simply by writing a short letter to the address above!

Remember, your right to "pursue happiness", promised in the U.S. Constitution, could be compromised next!

I 've never gotten involved in anything like this, but I just don't believe that Judge realizes that people (not everyone, for sure, granted) like raising chickens, regard them as pets, and take excellent care of them.




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