Chicken owners don't want over-regulation in Lander

What was overwhelming clear at tonight's Lander City Council meeting, locals who raise chickens for showing, for eggs, and for meat love their chickens. A passionate contingent of chicken owners spoke for nearly an hour and a half at tonight's meeting in response to a proposed ordinance from Lander Police Chief Bob Cecrle. He said that in the last year it has become clear that there are no ordinances regarding chickens that his officers can use to address when they're called for an issue regarding those birds. As presented at tonight's meeting, the ordinance would limit chickens to 12 per property with at least nine-square-feet per bird (coop and run combined), with an enclosure with a roof at least two feet high, along with a 15-foot setback from neighboring properties. No roosters would allowed. Sgt. Alan McOmie added that there would also be an annual permit process. That would allow officers to know where a chicken might belong should it fly the coop. The permit's cost has not yet been determined, but could be $50-75. McOmie said the ordinance was largely based on what Riverton passed, which caused several speakers to say they didn't want Lander to become Riverton. No one came to the meeting to speak wholly against chickens. Most of the speakers were current chicken owners who felt the proposed ordinance was too restrictive. They expressed that the permit process was too invasive and that the setback rule was largely unnecessary. Most were OK with eliminating roosters (some said they'd complied with neighbors' complaints about the noise already), while a couple were in favor of keeping the roosters. Some felt that the 12 limit was OK, while others said that when ordering chickens, many companies mandate minimum orders of 15-25. One local said she was fighting a chicken at large ticket she received, noting that the city's ordinance about animals at large (last modified in 1994) actually refers only to dogs. Another woman said she felt like the people who complain about chickens and roosters will always have something to complain about. She also reminded the council that part of the reason she loves Wyoming is the lack of over-regulation. Tonight's meeting was only a work session, for public input and discussion only. Mayor Del McOmie said he and the council would take all of the comments into consideration before moving forward with any formal ordinance vote. Council President Cade Maestas said he felt there could be ways to close loopholes for the police department without going too far. Featured image: Tim Robeson speaks to the Lander City Council. #county10 #news