published Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Chattanooga City Council puts chicken ordinance on hold until July

by Cliff Hightower
Larry Grohn
Larry Grohn
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Should people be allowed to raise chickens in the city?
  • photo
    Chris Anderson answers questions during a meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


The Chattanooga Animal Control Board will begin looking over the proposal for allowing chickens in city limits starting at noon Monday during its regularly scheduled business meeting in the City Council room.

Chicken advocates who flocked to the Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday night will have to wait two months before having an answer on if they can own fowl in city limits.

The City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday night to defer until July 2 an ordinance that would have allowed up to 10 hens per household in the city limits. Councilman Chris Anderson, who sponsored the ordinance, and Councilmen Jerry Mitchell and Ken Smith voted against the deferral.

"Personally, I don't know why we have to rush through this, and it feels like it's being rushed," said Councilman Larry Grohn earlier in an agenda meeting.

Anderson sponsored the ordinance, saying many of his constituents had asked him to try to get chickens legal within city limits as a source of food. The ordinance would have allowed up to 10 hens, but no roosters. It also would require chicken coops to be clean.

Anderson said during the council meeting that the chicken advocates had been waiting a long time for the ordinance. It first went before the council three years ago, but died because of lack of support and concerns about chicken coop cleanliness and how McKamey Animal Care & Adoption Center could handle the animals.

"I say the people who have waited for this many years wouldn't say it's rushed," he said.

Karen Walsh, executive director for McKamey, said she had no problems with the ordinance as written, but she requested the council let the Animal Control Board take a look at it first.

Board Chairman Michael Mallen told the council the board is rewriting the city's animal ordinance laws and the chicken ordinance could be placed within those laws.

"It would be better, more efficient and more streamlined if folded in," he said.

Most council members agreed they supported chickens within city limits. But they wanted the procedure to be that the Animal Control Board look over the ordinance first before coming to vote in council.

In other news, the council unanimously approved Lee Norris as Public Works director and Ron Swafford as City Court clerk.

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