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KANAWHA | Chickens may soon be allowed within the city limits of Kanawha.

That comes after Tom Gretillat sought approval from the city council to house six cooped hens on his property Tuesday, April 10, during its meeting.

“It’s all over,” he said. “All these bigger towns are having chickens.”

Under the city of Kanawha’s current ordinance, “bothersome animals, such as bees, cattle, donkeys, mules, horses, swine, sheep, goats, fowl and geese” aren’t allowed within city limits because they “tend to disrupt the peace and good order of the community.”

Cities, like Mason City, Kensett, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, already allow chickens within their city limits.

Councilman Ray Bassett said he’d support a change in the city’s ordinance to allow residents to house cooped hens on their property.

“I never had an objection to it,” he said. “Personally I’d rather have chickens next door than a yipping dog that got out.”

He said a resident used to house pigeons on their property, which would've also been considered fowl.

But Councilwoman Shirley Baker disagreed.

“We don’t need to be starting to get into all these farm animals,” she said.

Gretillat said Kanawha is a “rural community.”

“This is a town,” Baker said. “If you want rural, you go out into the country.”

Gretillat told the council he’s heard women in town say they’d enjoy having access to fresh hen eggs for baked goods.

Mayor Nancy Litch said some residents are concerned about the sight and smell of chicken manure in the city, but council members said that could be addressed in the city’s nuisance ordinance.

“You can have the same issue with people not cleaning up after dogs,” Bassett said.

The council agreed to draft an amendment to the city’s ordinance and present it at upcoming meetings to allow the public time to provide feedback on the issue, but Gretillat wasn’t satisfied with that response.

“You’re never going to see a damn chicken in town here because you guys make a big deal out of everything that a person brings to this council,” he said. “That’s why you have so many people upset.”

Litch said the city must amend ordinances in a certain way to ensure it’s done legally.

“It’ll be three months versus never,” she said.

Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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