Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Local doublespeak

Two years ago, Melissa Hensler and her pet "Sundae" won an award from her township for the "Most Unusual Pet." Now it seems, the same township that was well aware of her pet and gave it pet status with that award has decided that she must get rid of him.

It seems that in July 2007, a neighbor of the Hensler's complained to the North Huntington Township officials in Irwin PA, that the Hensler's rooster and eight chickens don't belong in the neighborhood. They have raised them on their property for six years without problems before.

"Chickens are farm animals. You can call them pets if you like, but they are still fowl," stated David Stitt, code enforcement officer.

The township board recently rejected the Hensler's request for a zoning exemption which has now left them considering a lawsuit. Don Hensler stated that he has already spent $250 on the first appeal and the chickens he estimates are only worth $1.75 to $2.00 each if they were sold. He added that he is only asking for an exemption to keep the chickens, which typically live 6 to 10 years, until they pass on.

While chickens indeed are farm animals within city limits, the very fact that the town was aware of Sundae and went to the length of giving him an award makes me wonder........ do they only enforce the zoning codes when a neighbor complains? Why not grant an exemption, that would't open the door for the Henslers to operate a chicken farm on their property but instead, let them live out what probably is only two years of life as the family pets they are.

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