I would like to take this opportunity to commend the De Soto City Council for their common-sense decision to allow residents to own poultry, as reported in the Dear Leader on May 24. They made this move despite ig’nernt arguments like those from the Lindseys, a couple who told the council that noise from chickens would create a nuisance. This incorrect assumption probably comes from a belief that there will be roosters all over town, when pretty much every city that allows chickens bans roosters, and there is no reason for most urban chicken-owners to possess them. I wonder if the Lindseys want dogs banned in the city, because dog noise is much more of a nuisance than that from chickens.
On the other hand, the city council in Festus tabled the chickens issue recently, and last year Arnold didn’t act on a request from a resident to allow them. The arguments against chickens are rather weak, and they come down to noise, health, and odor, for the most part. I repeat my dog analogy above. Anything you think a chicken does that makes it unsuitable for being raised in city back yards, dogs do to a greater degree (bark, bite, poo, etc.), but nobody seems interested in banning dogs. In fact, Festus Mayor Mike Cage said, according to the May 17 Dear Leader, that “chickens will make the dogs bark.” By that logic, we should ban mailmen, too.
The Festus discussion of chickens also featured a typical aspect of legislation: elected officials dabbling into minutiae, with the intent of writing unnecessarily strict regulations. The Festusians talked about minimum acreage requirements and maximum number of chickens per property. But there were only 3 no votes, compared to 2 yes and 2 abstentions, so the hurdles for potential Festus chicken-owners are not insurmountable. The other no votes were Kathy Murphy, Bobby Venz, and Jim Tinnin. And this was only a vote on whether to continue discussing the issue. Remember these names at election time.
Other locales in the area get it. Ellisville, Shrewsbury, Creve Coeur and Richmond Heights have given chickens the green light this year. Nationally, cities like LA, San Francisco, and Chicago allow chickens. If those places can handle chickens, surely Festus and Arnold can. I encourage residents of these and other Jefferson County cities to keep fighting for chickens. Hopefully De Soto has started a trend.