No clucks about it: chicken ordinance

Amarillo Animal Control is asking citizens living within city limits to make sure they have the proper amount of land before they consider raising chickens.

A city ordinance states property owners can have up to four chickens per every quarter-acre. Having more than that is illegal, and so is owning chickens without at least a quarter of an acre of land. Violating this law results in a Class C misdemeanor.

Animal Control Assistant Director Shannon Barlow pointed out self-sustaining lifestyles are popular right now- people are using animals and crops to get their own food. But she added that some of those people are living that lifestyle illegally.

"The roosters, of course, are a noise disturbance and then the chickens bring, you know, parasites, they bring a smell. A lot of people don't keep their coops and things the way that they should. So we had a lot of problems when we allowed chickens inside the city."

Barnyard fowl can also carry diseases that are harmful to people and other animals.

"With chickens you've just got some parasites, you've got lice, you've got some things like that that potentially could be a problem to maybe the kids, maybe to the other animals," Barlow stated.

Animal Control officials acknowledge not all people are familiar with city ordinances. Officers give people education about the laws and give them a chance to make some changes to keep their animals from being seized.

"Rather than go out and just write a ticket, what we try to do is go out and educate people, give them an opportunity to maybe relocate those to maybe a family farm or the Humane Society has a lot of options," Barlow said. "So, we just try to make sure people understand why they can't have those particular animals."

Barlow encourages anyone with questions about the ordinance to contact Animal Control at 806-378-9032.