Glendale — The Glendale Common Council reaffirmed its ban on backyard chickens on Monday, June 13.
Three weeks ago, the council approved an ordinance that prohibited Glendale residents from keeping chickens in their yard. The morning after the vote, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy vetoed the ordinance in hopes that chicken supporters would be able to sway at least one of the aldermen to switch their vote in favor of allowing chickens.
Kennedy's hopes were dashed Monday night when a supermajority — four of the six aldermen — maintained their stance against backyard chickens. The council upheld the chicken ban by a 4-2 vote, with Aldermen John Gelhard and James Daugherty voting in opposition.
Alderwoman JoAnn Shaw said she received a lot of pressure in the last three weeks to change her vote in favor of chickens.
'During that time I have been threatened, I have been bullied and I have been cyber-bullied via social media mob mentality,' Shaw said. 'I have been called worthless, and my family has been ridiculed.'
Nine Glendale households already own chickens, and the city has not taken enforcement action against any of those residents. City Attorney John Fuchs said those residents may be 'grandfathered in' because they bought their chickens and coops at a time when there was ambiguity in the chicken permitting process.
Glendale Alderman Richard Wiese said he has talked with a significant number of people who do not want to allow chickens in Glendale. He said the keeping of chickens, along with the rising number of residential care centers in his aldermanic district, has pushed residents to a breaking point.
'There's a significant number of people who have indicated that, with those two issues, they're going to put their house up for sale. We would hate to see that,' he said. 'We have a situation with the residential care centers that is out of our control; it is mandated by federal law. The raising of chickens, however, is in our control. We can say yea or nay to that.'
At city meetings, the input from residents has disproportionately come from chicken supporters. Thirteen residents spoke in favor of allowing chickens during a public hearing in April. Residents were not allowed to speak about chickens at subsequent city meetings.
Alderman James Daugherty said he supported residents in their desire to keep chickens in their yard.
'I find it amazing that we are worried about this,' he said. 'I think the overwhelming results of everything we've looked at, and at the public hearing, indicates this is not an event we need to weigh in and prohibit. I think people should be allowed to do this.'