Streaming Live Chickens

I’ve been able to watch two SiltBOTs meetings on the live stream. I hope it will continue. At the beginning of Monday’s meeting (6/14) there was some confusion as to whether the meeting was actually streaming. It was. I had a hard time hearing at times, but I did hear Davis Farrar, Interim Town Administrator, say something about not being able to find funding for the live stream. Paul the AV guy, told Tod and me that the cost to the town for live stream is a one-time setup fee of $1,500, and then about $60/month thereafter. Surely the town can afford that. If not, I hope someone from the Board will let us know so we can go out and raise the money – hint-hint.

Anyway, they talked about a lot of things at the meeting, the new library maybe next year, marijuana, and the land conservancy. Former Mayor John Evans was given 20 minutes, which turned into for-ever, to argue with the Board about the budget. He also brought up nepotism in the town staff and in town government. He doesn’t like it. Mayor Pro-Tem Aluise pointed out that Evans’ wife works for the same bank he works for. I’d heard enough. I turned down the sound and waited for the meeting to reconvene after the break. Nepotism is “the showing of too much favor by one in power to his relatives, especially by giving them desirable appointments”. Two people from the same family working for the town or serving in town government is NOT nepotism. Note to Mr. Evans: The election is over.  

At long last they got to the chicken ordinance. What fun. Davis said the citizens in favor of chickens in town provided him with a lot of good information and he felt the staff had put together a “state of the art chicken ordinance”. Some of the highlights include allowing up to 3 chickens, but no roosters. A permit is required. The lot must be at least 5,000 square feet, and chickens must be confined either behind a fence or in a pen. There are also size specifications for the chicken coop, plus regulations for upkeep and cleanliness. Essentially the ordinance places the responsibility on the owners of the chickens.

Even though it’s the chicken ordinance, most of the discussion centered around dogs. Which is ridiculous. I want to assure the SiltBOTs – especially Trustee Fleming – dogs don’t really care all that much about chickens. Honestly. It’s like some people think when chickens start popping up in yards the dogs in town are gonna go insane barking. That’s not going to happen. Before we moved to Silt, we lived in a rural area outside Duluth, MN. Neighbors next door had chickens and across the road there were chickens, and a variety of other fowl. Our property wasn’t fenced, the neighbors’ either. Our dogs didn’t bother their animals and their animals didn’t bother our dogs.

All the talk about phantom dogs barking at phantom chickens led to an interesting – and for me disturbing – exchange between Mayor Pro-Tem Aluise and Police Chief Burris. Aluise said if the chickens cause dogs to bark, we have a barking ordinance and it can be dealt with that way. He said he thought it was something like a dog barking for 10 minutes and deferred to Chief Burris who responded that there was no longer a time limit in the new ordinance, that is was just a dog barking, or words to that effect.

Actually, Mr. Aluise this is what the barking dog ordinance says [emphasis added]:

6.04.190 Dogs disturbing the peace and quiet.
A. No owner of an animal shall fail to prevent it from disturbing the peace and quiet of any other person by loud and persistent barking, baying, howling, yipping, crying, yelping, whining, or making any other noise in an excessive, continuous or untimely fashion, whether the animal is on or off the owner’s premises.

A violation is not for just a dog barking. Considering my own circumstances, it’s disturbing to think that Chief Burris has such a fundamental misunderstanding and misinterpretation of 6.04.190.

I appreciated Mr. Aluise pointing out that some people use the ordinance to harass their neighbors.

Back to the chicken ordinance. It passed first reading by 6 to 1, with Trustee Fleming voting nay. Second reading with be at the June 28 BOT meeting.

No, I’m not planning to raise chickens but it’s okay with me if my neighbors do. And they won’t have to worry about my dogs barking at them. They don’t bark at birds.

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2 Comments on “Streaming Live Chickens”

  1. Joseph Muenich Says:

    I grew up with chickens, geese and ducks, and if anything, they kept our dogs in line. I am so glad to hear Silt is considering doing this.
    In Madison, WI, where I live now, we have a similar ordinance and it is fun to see the beautiful kinds of chickens people have started to raise in their back yards. Then there is the benefit of eggs fresh from the community. I think it may have made the price go down at the store.

  2. Lyn Hailey Says:

    Chickens! I’ll buy fresh eggs. Also, does anyone know if John Evans ever had a problem with the Planning Commission a couple years ago? The chair was the son of another member and the son-in-law of another member. All on the commission at the same time. I’d like to know if he ever objected to that.

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