Thursday, January 23, 2014

Arizona Bill Would Deny Equal Rights to Roosters

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

The subject of homeowners in Maricopa County, Arizona, raising chickens in their backyards has a long and contentious history.  At various times smaller communities within the country have enacted local codes both allowing and banning small scale poultry and egg production, and the county itself has played on both sides of the feathered fence with regard to the unincorporated areas within the county.

The raising of chickens is a tough call for local elected officials.  On the one hand they want to protect the property rights of the little guy, the people who want to use their God-given property rights to stockpile guns and raise whatever they damn well please.  On the other hand is, of course, the local plutocrats and rich snowbirds (and ferocious home-owners associations) with piles of campaign cash who want to protect their own property rights - and property values.  Those people definitely don't want the odor and noise of chickens wafting through their rarefied air.

Arizona's legendary two-bit political animals are damned if they do - and damned if they don't.   What's a pandering politician to do?

State Senator David Farnsworth has decided to tackle the issue with some statewide legislation.  He has put forth a bill that would override existing local laws and allow the raising of backyard poultry anywhere in the state.  Cities could still impose some limits, but homeowners would be free to build a chicken coop anywhere on their property - including right up next to the property line so the neighbors could enjoy it also.

Senator Farnsworth proclaimed:

"The proper role of government according to the U.S. Constitution and the Arizona Constitution is to protect the liberty of the people, and liberty of the people is being eroded - particularly property rights."

Ken Strobeck of the League of Cities and Towns sees the issue a bit differently.  Strobeck noted that people who purchase homes in areas where strange noises and smells are not in evidence or anticipated at the time of purchase have their property rights infringed upon with the introduction of poultry into the neighborhood.

What a whiner!

The Farnsworth bill does address the noise concern by denying backyard poultry producers the right to raise roosters - an obvious gender discrimination issue that will never stand up in court - particularly if it gets as far as the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals!

Roosters have rights, too - you know.


Don said...

How could anyone not want to live in Arizona ???

Xobekim said...

Kansas also has had its share of squabbles over the poultry issue. Long story short, if the property in question was large enough to support the raising of poultry, then it was allowed.

Of course in the postage stamp lots of tract housing that springs up in the Arizona desert there is barely room to park a car let alone a chicken coop.

Various other aspects of the Law of Property will apply. What do the covenants and restrictions have to say on this issue. They being equitable in nature begs the question as to whether there have been significant and substantial changes in the area as to render them unenforceable. Also, and this is touched upon, are the laws regarding nuisance.

Arizona is home to one of the more famous nuisance cases out in the West Valley. Seems there was a cattle operation, a feed lot or dairy operation, or combination of the two out in middle of the empty desert, not bothering anyone. So Mr. Del Webb comes out and says this is a great vast wasteland just perfect for building housing developments for old people. Of course the old folks bought the houses and then complained about the 24-7 aroma of cow manure. Webb, d.b.a. Sun City, I think it was Sun City West, but I'd have to look that up, anyway he sues claiming the cattle operation was a nuisance. The Court agreed, and then turned the remedy on its head by ruling that Webb had moved to the nuisance, so now Webb and his Sun City enterprise had to pay to have the cattle operation moved to a new location.

Rock, corporations are really not persons and neither are roosters. But I like the argument.