Chicken Ordinance Fails In City Council Vote

Jun 7, 2017

Credit Zach Bernard/WBOI News

Fort Wayne residents won’t be able to keep chickens in their yard any time soon. A proposed ordinance that would have allowed the ownership of chickens in Fort Wayne failed in City Council Tuesday night on a 7-2 vote.

Councilman Jason Arp proposed the measure. He says urban areas like Chicago and Indianapolis allow chicken ownership, and he said Fort Wayne could, too.

But concerns over safety, noise and health were presented to council before the vote. Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control director Amy-Jo Sites says the health concerns extend beyond human illness, like salmonella.

“Our biggest concern is the predators that would try to get the chickens," said Sites. "It would be an inadvertent food source for them, and many of those predators are known rabies carriers. So I have to worry about the domestic animals and the humans that come in contact.”

Sites also says Animal Care and Control received 50 complaints about chickens in the last year despite their current prohibition, and many had to be euthanized.

The measure wasn’t without its supporters. Advocates boasted 2,000 signatures on a petition for passage, and Vijaya Berkes-Adams from Food Not Lawns Fort Wayne was optimistic after the vote, saying she hopes the measure can be revisited in the future.

“Hopefully we can find some way to work this out and make this happen in a way that works for all of us," she said. "I think that would be great.”

Arp says he may re-introduce the ordinance in the future.