Friday, July 10, 2009
What The Cluck - it begins again ..
~Justin wearing one of the new chicken t-shirts~
~A close-up of the back of the shirt~
No sooner had we gotten our first batch of t-shirts in (don't they look great?), but we got a courtesy phone call. There have been more complaints, this time not only about our chickens, but about someone else's in Salem. I do think they have a rooster, but still. The City feels compelled to act since, after all, they're technically illegal to have. I say technically because of the discrepancy between City Code and Zoning, which has had animal control officers (aka - Law Enforcement!!!) telling people that they could have them for 20+ years now! When all this came up last year, the City acknowledged the conflict between Code & Zoning and went to the City Attorney who determined that Zoning trumps Code. Regardless of what law enforcement has been telling people.
As of today, we haven't gotten our official letter yet, but I've been told it will be here soon. We will have 90 days to comply (I do believe that is 60 days longer than last time). We have no intention of giving up our chickens. During this time is when we will have a chance to try and go before City Council. If they agree to hear me, then we will have a chance to try and convince them to allow Salem residents to keep a small, backyard flock of urban hens.
So, what's going on till then?? Well, lots of stuff. First off, I'm trying to be like a duck on the water -- calm on the surface and kicking like all hell underneath.
Second: Good ole grassroots activism. We've got a group on Facebook now: http://www.facebook.com/tos.php?api_key=ca55612231318500789c068e036619e8&next=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.facebook.com%2Frealpolls%2Fvote%2Fforce%2Fngqkfwtz4%2F15&v=1.0&canvas#/group.php?gid=98217238610 - We've got our petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/salemchickens/index.html - And, we've started a website: http://bluenymphbiddies.weebly.com
I apologize for these not being direct links, but lately blogspot has not been making the links active, so I've had to revert to just putting the address in here and hoping you'll take the extra step to cut & paste.
What else besides the link-stuff?? Well, I'll tell you:
*We've recently had a realtor come out and look at the chickens. No, we aren't buying them a house, and we aren't selling their coop. He came out to see the chickens & determined (which he actually did BEFORE he saw them, but he wanted to see them & we like visitors!) that NO, chickens in and of themselves do NOT drop propery values of the neighbors/neighborhood. They have no impact on it at all. The only impact they could possibly have is on a personal level, just as anything else could affect a potential homebuyer on a personal level. But property values, nope! -- We've asked him to right a letter for us to that effect, and are also talking to more realtors for the same.
*We're working to contact professors who specialize in chickens to help us dispel some common "hen myths." You know, those ones about noise, smell, attracting rodents and pests, and holding up any stores that might be nearby. We're asking them for letters as well.
*With the Facebook group & website, we're working on building information that helps people understand just what backyard, urban chickens ARE. Most people don't know and can't begin to fathom. This will include facts, pictures (I just got a great shot of Shannon holding "Ann Bancroft," our Dark Brahma hen), and links to sites on the internet. There are MANY, MANY wonderful sites, and we want to support them.
*Selling more shirts - we're going to keep selling the shirts too! They're awesome shirts, even if you don't live in Salem, VA. Proceeds will go to helping us throughout this campaign and, if we sell enough, building a nice privacy fence between our neighbor and us!
So, check out the website, buy a shirt, let me know what you think in general. Got ideas, know how to help, we're all ears! Got some great chicken photos you're willing to share, we'd love to see them and let other people see them too.
And, finally, we got a new email address for this whole mess: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spread the word, drop us a line, and, PLEASE, help us save our chickens!