Possible chicken ban upsets homeowners

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) - While several northwest Arkansas cities ban raising chickens in their limits, some continue to house the animals on their properties for either companionship or food.

Springdale outlawed chickens in residential subdivisions in 1999, although the ducks that paddle across the Murphy Park pond were exempted by the City Council. Both Bentonville and Fayetteville also have laws making it illegal to raise chickens and ducks.

Rogers allows chickens, but has a four-hen limit established by a 2006 city ordinance. Roosters are illegal.

Hen owners in Rogers must buy a $5 annual permit and keep their birds in a cage that's at least two feet above the ground. Four people have purchased permits this year, said Patricia Thornhill, assistant manager of the Rogers animal shelter.

"We're becoming more conscious of our environment," said Terry Shott, a Craig Circle homeowner and one of the four Rogers residents who purchased a 2008 permit for his four egg layers. "It's growing your own food."

Others looks at chickens as a pest, especially early rising roosters. In Carroll County, Green Forest voters banned the birds in 2002.

Green Forest resident Jess Cooper, who paid for radio advertisements encouraging other residents to ban the birds, said there are no fowl in town.

"My neighbor next door had chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits and hens and all that in the backyard," Cooper told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "They'd come into my backyard and my dog would run them back over there.

"We don't have that kind of stuff now. It's more quiet now. You don't hear roosters crowing."

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In Springdale, four hens live at the home of Mario and Catalina Guerra. A neighbor's complaint about a noisy rooster on June 17 brought an animal control officer to the Guerras' door. The family promised to get rid of the rooster, but there was no discussion of the hens.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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