Warren may get tough on fowl under law changes

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The Town of Warren will soon start clamping down on the owners of fowl — chickens and the like — if a slew of tough changes to the town's animal ordinance are approved.

The Warren Town Council was expected to discuss a broadening of existing law that would make the town's "animals and fowl" ordinance apply to all fowl, not just chickens and hens. The law heavily regulates the number of animals residents can keep, specifies what they can and can't do with them (eggs are OK, commercial slaughter isn't) and spells out how much land residents must have for each animal, among other rules.

Under the proposed changes, brought forward by councilor Davison Bolster, the types of animals covered under the law would not only broaden, but residents with existing coops would not be "grandfathered in" under the old law, as often happens when new laws are enacted.

Instead, owners will have 15 days from the date the changes are made — if they're approved by the council — to bring their animals into compliance with the law.

"Any person maintaining a pre-existing fowl coop, enclosure, or other structure or facility must be in compliance with the restrictions, construction requirements, maximum domestic fowl numbers, minimum distance requirements, and all other provisions in this ordinance," the proposed change reads. Tuesday's meeting constituted a first reading of the ordinance change, and a second, as well as a public hearing, will be required before the council takes a vote.

Chickens and other animals, particularly in the town's congested downtown area, have been an issue for the past year-plus. Residents on Church Street in particular have complained about a resident who keeps or has kept dozens of chickens, as well as pigeons and other fowl, on his property.

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