Beloit policy makers hear both sides of the story in the proposed ordinance that would allow residents to keep chickens on their property. City workers and citizens "for" and "against" the chicken ordinance each tried to sway the city's advisory board with facts, figures, and opinions, before the board took a vote.
A city Planning and Building Services rep has concerns about animal cruelty, since Beloit has no animal control center, or shelter that accepts chickens. A Fire Department Chief worries about accidental fires started from heating lamps and blankets inside chicken coops during colder weather. Chicken ordinance supporters talk about the educational benefits of having chickens in the backyard, and the benefits of a greater connection to our food system.
Ultimately, those against the ordinance came out on top Wednesday night, the advisory board voted 'no' 4 to 1. Before the decision, citizens on both sides of the spectrum shared their thoughts on the allowance of backyard chickens.
"The city is here to support the community, not the other way around. If citizens come forward, the city's response should be 'How can we help you make this happen?' not 'How can we stop it?'" -says Beloit Backyard Chickens rep Kurt Handrich.
"We don't have the staff to do code enforcement, we don't have a Humane Society able to chase or collect loose chickens, nor do we have the budget to add staff to handle those concerns." -says Beloit resident Heidi Johns.
The advisory vote is not an official "yes" or "no" to the ordinance, this matter will be addressed by City Council members September 4th.
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