Planning Board to Debate Livestock Ordinance

The Derry Planning Board has two different drafts of a livestock ordinance, but will wait for a formal discussion until Code Enforcement Officer Bob Mackey can join them.
The board took an initial look at the revised ordinance at its Sept. 18 meeting.
The board determined to update the ordinance after several residents in the Windham Road area complained about a neighbor’s rooster.

Planning Director George Sioras turned much of the discussion over to his assistant, Elizabeth Robidoux, who had been working with Mackey and with Animal Control Officer Marlene Bishop on the drafts.
The draft ordinance adds a condition that roosters may only be permitted on lots with a minimum of three acres. They must not be allowed to crow between 8 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.
The ordinance also adds a condition that any animals “not interfere with other property owners’ rights,” which was not in the final draft written three or four years ago, Robidoux said.
“Putting this wording back in,” she said, “will give ‘teeth’ to the Code Enforcement Officer.”
Bishop’s version is more detailed. Her suggested update also provides for livestock (excluding sheep, swine and goats) to be permitted on lots containing one or more acres. Permits must be obtained for slaughter of animals on smaller lots, and the permit is good for one year. All buildings, pens and enclosures must be located a minimum of 20 feet from any property line, unless the property is owned on both sides by the same resident.
In addition, at no time shall roosters be allowed on a property in a condensed area so as to create a nuisance.
Bishop’s version also states that anyone violating the town ordinance will be subject to court procedure, after a warning has been given to correct the complaint. Those living on lots under the allowed limits at the time of the adoption of the ordinance will be grandfathered in – allowed to remain as is, but once an animal is removed, it cannot be replaced. The rule is for horses, sheep, goats, chickens and pigs; under Bishop’s version, domestic dogs and cats, reptiles and exotic indoor birds are exempt.
The board grappled again with the question of “how do you shut a rooster up.” 
Vice-Chair John O’Connor, who minored in poultry in college, said, “For all intents and purposes, it needs to be black.” If the rooster has no light, it will be quiet, he said.
Chairman David Granese said he had heard about “sunglasses” for chickens to control their clucking, and he wondered if that was viable for roosters. 
O’Connor also observed that with baby chicks, “you can’t tell what sex it is for two or three weeks. What if you live on a small lot, and you find out one of the babies is a rooster?”
And member Randy Chase said in his opinion, barking dogs are far more of a nuisance. “There are far more dogs who bark all night,” he said. “What’s fair for one is fair for another.”
O’Connor asked, “Do we have a right to do this if we don’t have a definition of nuisance?” And Granese defined “nuisance” for his fellow board members: “If you have to get up and go to work at 7 a.m. and a rooster’s been crowing all night, it interferes with your rights.”
The group will take up the discussion again in its Oct. 2 meeting.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.