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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Free-range chickens not welcome in city

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  • The city of Wilson has a fowl problem as of late, and mayor Frank Schaff aims to fix it.
    Recently, some residents of Wilson who raise chickens have been allowing them a little more free-range than other residents would like. As such, it's not uncommon to drive through Wilson and have to slow down due to a chicken crossing the road — really.
    "Only in Wilson could you drive down the street and see chickens running around or in the school yards," Schaff says.
    An ordinance that has been on the city's books for years states that residents who own chickens must keep them in an enclosure, be it fence or chicken coops. But the animals are not allowed to run free-range within city limits.
    "I don't know why it's not being enforced," Schaff says. "It was an issue when I took office, and for a while, everyone did a pretty good job.
    "Now we're back to square one."
    Schaff said he's done watching, and is going to take a tougher stance on the issue. "Any chickens found running around will be picked up and taken possession of by the city," Schaff says.
    The chickens have become a problem, not just because they interrupt traffic and happenings in the school yards, but they also cause damage to other residents' property.
    "It's getting so people can't plant a garden or plant flower beds because the chickens will get in there and ruin them," Schaff says. "It's about having common courtesy and respect for your fellow neighbor.
    "I know it's only coming from a few people, but I'm looking out for the entire community as opposed to just these few that want their chickens free-range."
    Schaff says if residents put up fences and keep their chickens "cooped up," there wouldn't be an issue.
    "I have no problem with people keeping chickens, there are many people in Wilson that have chickens," he says. "But they can't be running around, and if I have to be the bad guy on this and fix the problem, I will. But it's to keep our community looking nice and to keep our residents happy."
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