Nfld. & Labrador

Backyard chicken coop banned in Conception Bay South

A Conception Bay South couple has been told to remove a backyard chicken coop, because of complaints from neighbours in Kelligrews.

Family plans to dig in and defy order to remove fowl

Alicia Penney-Harnum and her husband have been told to get rid of their chickens by March 11, or face a fine. (Submitted photo)

A Conception Bay South woman says she will defy a council order to remove her backyard chicken coop. 

"I'm going to keep my chicken and I'm going to see how far this will go, because the only way to make changes is to push boundaries sometimes," said Alicia Penney-Harnum.

While the family has only one chicken now, they used to have seven, and a goat, when they first ruffled feathers at the town hall. 

Mayor Stephen Tessier said the C.B.S. council received complaints in 2011.

"There were no permits to have these animals," Tessider said. 

Penney-Harnum told CBC on Monday that the flap came to a head last week when a town enforcement officer and two police officers showed up at her door with an order to remove the fowl by March 11 or face a $500 fine.

"I was blown away," she said. "I felt very intimidated...because there were RNC officers there, and I associate that with being arrested."

Appeal denied

The Harnums have lived in Kelligrews since 2008 and viewed their farm animals as pets.

"The reason we moved out here is we thought that C.B.S. was more agriculturally friendly as opposed to Paradise or Mount Pearl or St. John's," said Penney-Harnum. "We have a lot of farms around us with all kinds of different types of livestock."

The Harnums say their chickens are treated like pets, and do not smell or make noise. (Submitted photo)

She said the family applied for a permit after being told to remove the animals but was turned down.

"Their two reasons were noise and the appearance of my property," she said. 

Penney-Harnum said her chickens did not smell, and she doesn't have a rooster, but no one from the town came to do an inspection.

"No one can see our chickens except for our one neighbour, and she is very supportive. Her daughter comes over to play with the chickens all the time. They love it," she said.

She appealed to the provincial Department of Municipal Affairs and was told the town had the "discretionary power" to ban the chickens.

Not like a dog or a cat

"Noise is a subjective thing, for sure. Smell is a subjective thing," said Tessier.

"My understanding is that the chickens were roaming out on the other neighbours' properties as well."

Tessier said the chickens are "considered a small farm or hobby farm. It's not like it's considered a pet dog, or a cat."

He said council will likely discuss the issue at its regular meeting Tuesday night, and he said the Harnums may be able to re-apply to keep a chicken.

The Harnum's one remaining chicken, Brownie, lives in a coop behind their house in Kelligrews. (CBC)

"I love the idea of being able to raise a couple of chickens in your backyard and grow some vegetables," said Tessier, pointing out that some C.B.S. residents are allowed to keep farm animals. 

"But I think it has to be somewhat regulated …because you can't have somebody raising sheep and a goat and a cow and 10 chickens in a 50x100-foot lot." 


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