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Controversy over chickens in neighborhoods in Charlotte County

Posted at 10:41 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 22:41:57-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Betty is one of Melissa Aniskewicz’s ten chickens that live in her backyard.

“They’re very important they’re part of our family,” Aniskewicz said.

Charlotte County notified Aniskewicz that she has to give up her chickens due to a code enforcement violation to have chickens on residential property. This contradicts a county’s ordinance that considers “poultry” to be domestic animals.

“Mine are pets, they all have names, we don’t eat them,” Aniskewicz said.

Aniskewicz tried telling the county this, but she claims nothing changed.

“The county had told me otherwise that chickens are not pets,” she said.

Aniskewicz started a group called “Charlotte Cluck” that calls for a new ordinance to allow for backyard poultry since other animals are permitted.

“You’re not forced to join the kennel club just because you have a dog. I feel that it’s unfair because there are a hundred people in the county who own chickens,” Aniskewicz said.

Fox 4 reached out to Charlotte County for a comment on this story, and they said they have ten code enforcement cases since 2016 and there has been no direction to change county codes for residential zones so far.

“I hope to change the ordinance and make it more clear or create a whole new ordinance in general,” Aniskewicz said.