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Friday, June 10, 2011

Lee County Chicken Farmers ruffle feathers with County Officials

LEHIGH ACRES, FLORIDA - Chicken coops are ruffling feathers in Lee County as many homeowners say they're being told to give up their main food supply! Local chicken farmers are being cited for raising the birds in their backyards but they say they can't afford not to.

Dianna Caminos is on disability, her husband recently lost his job and they have a 2-year old daughter with medical issues. Now they're fighting to keep food on the table. Caminos admits, "Well right now we have no income coming into our household at all, nothing." Caminos lives in Lehigh Acres and figured getting some chickens would help since they produce eggs, meat and fertilizer for her family's garden. She says she called someone at Lee County Animal Services to make sure it would be okay, "and she said. 'I don't have a problem with you having chickens as long as you don't have roosters and she laughed and said because they might disturb your neighbor."

Caminos then proceeded to purchase the chickens and everything seemed fine until she noticed other chicken farmers in her area were beginning to get citations. Caminos immediately called the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. Her District Commissioner for Lehigh Acres is Frank Mann. A member of Mann's staff told Caminos to call Animal Services. Animal Services told her she would have to contact Code Enforcement but all Code Enforcement did was to slap her with this citation for having the chickens.

Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow says, "that's not the way I would have addressed it or handled it." Bigelow says the local ordinance that forbids folks from raising chickens is outdated and he maintains,"to not address or to not accept that this is a sign of a new reality I think is living in denial we just simply can't do it."
Dianne Muth and her daughter also bought some chickens to help make ends meet, they were also cited and had until Friday June 10th to remove the birds. Four in your Corner's Mike Mason asked Muth if she planned to get rid of her chickens and she replied, "Can I take the fifth? Yes, I'm going to keep them. I'll keep them inside my house if I have to." And that's exactly what she's doing, the birds are now being kept in her garage.

Muth says she has only one request of County Commissioners, "Please just let us keep our chickens, we're not going to go overboard and have a whole poultry farm out here just 4 or 5 chickens to sustain our family that's all."
And Four in your Corner now has at least one Commissioner's promise that he ‘will' take action. Bigelow adamantly states, "we will definitely look at it even if it is only my office trying to do so."
In the past month alone Lee County Code Enforcement has issued dozens of violations to people for owning chickens. Dianna Caminos has begun a petition drive to change the ordinance and so far she has about 50 signatures. We will, of course, follow this story and bring you any updates.

Link to Fox4 Report:

1 comment:

  1. In my opinion, the commisioner and it staff better start looking for a different job. They are couter-productive against people's right to have animals that are well taking care by their owners. In fact, they are taking their obsolete ordenance too far in reference to people having pets such as roosters and chickens, peacocks and other farms animals on their backyards. These animals do not represent danger to any person in particular and they are very beutiful and pretty. In addition, They are really pushing the issue about people violating their ordenance; when in fact they are violating the people's right to have pets on their backyards.
    we should see during the next elections who will win, because the people is not going to follow erratical orders from the LEE-county Officials that are against people's rights. especially when having pets is our right to have them unless we are not properly taking care of them.