A letter from Alex (a 12 year old former backyard chicken farmer)

16 01 2010

With the amazing media coverage that CLUCK has been getting lately, many folks in the community have been reaching out to us to express support.  One of these folks is lovely lady named Linda.  Her 12 year old son, Alex, feels pretty strongly about the ban on hen keeping in Sacramento and wanted to let us know that he’s behind our efforts.  Linda and Alex recently moved to Sacramento from Vacaville, where chicken keeping is legal.  Alex had an egg selling and delivery business and a flock of chickens with cool names who even went to church with him once!  When they moved to Sacramento Alex had to leave his flock behind.  Anyhow, Alex’s letter pretty much says it all.

My name is Alex and I am a former flock owner . I had 45 chickens when I lived in Vacaville. I moved to Sacramento and now I am not allowed to have chickens. It makes me enraged that the city will not allow us to have such a peaceful and useful creature such as the chicken. Add Video

I will be sending letters and this picture I made (see below) to the mayor and the city council members.

Please if there’s any other way that I can support your work to lift the ban on backyard chickens, I would like to help.

Alex

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One response

17 01 2010
Melinda Sarte

Alex, You motivated me to write my own letter to my mayor and councilman… Here it is:

January 16, 2010

Dear Mayor Kevin Johnson:

I am writing to express my support for amending the city policy prohibiting a property owner from keeping a small number of laying hens.

I have for years desired to keep about 3 laying hens in my yard, but have been unable to do so because of the prohibition. This year, I have very seriously considered moving outside of the city limits primarily because of this desire. I was very encouraged to see the publicity about this issue recently in the Sac Bee, and I am very hopeful that you and the council will respond positively to these efforts.

As a veterinarian, I can understand that there may be some hesitation among the board members relating to the secondary effects of having hens in the city boundaries. To that end, I would support some limitations on the practice. Required setbacks from neighboring property owner’s buildings, and even a reasonable permitting fee (much like dog and cat licensing) would be understandable compromises to me. Of course the keeping of roosters should continue to be prohibited.

Personally, I grew up in an area where it was common to keep a small number of backyard poultry, and I have friends in urban areas where the practice is common (Portland, San Jose). My experience is that neighbors have more often been brought closer by the practice (free fresh eggs help in that regard). Also, I believe the support a city provides for its residents to engage in this practice really boosts the progressive and environmentally responsible image of that city.

Please do consider allowing Sacramento to join the ranks of major cities such as Portland, Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco where this practice is allowed and embraced by its residents. I am hopeful that I can remain in the house I’ve owned in the Greenhaven area for the past 10 years, as I love my neighbors and community. I just think it would be that much better with a few hens in my yard, and fresh eggs on my table in the morning.

Respectfully,

Melinda Sarte, DVM

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