Fairmont city staff said this week that citizens need to understand something:?Residents are not allowed to keep any animal within city limits that is not expressly allowed by the city. The city licenses cats and dogs.
Now, we don't expect police officers to be going door to door to check for iguanas, ferrets, hedgehogs, rats and parakeets. But a police officer did recently tell a resident that her chickens, which she keeps as pets, are illegal. Presumably, so are all the other "exotic" animals people may own. To us, this is exactly wrong.
The way this should work:?Citizens should have the liberty to own any animal they want, unless the city can present a compelling reason against it. Call it freedom. You know, something the United States is supposedly known for.
Yes, the city may have some good reasons to ban certain animals. Livestock creates noise and odor. Some animals - say, poisonous snakes - are dangerous. Other animals, or bugs, might represent a threat to the environment or crops. All of this is easily understood. But a few pet chickens? We believe the city is being overzealous in its enforcement.
Until this chicken issue came to light in recent weeks, we bet 99 percent of locals were not even aware that someone was keeping a few of the birds as pets. On the other hand, just about everybody has had to put up with barking dogs, or a mess somewhere caused by a dog and an irresponsible owner.
C'mon, City Hall. Don't be an ogre. People are able to purchase a variety of pets these days. Let the chickens stay.