A chicken in every backyard?
Mary Langbeen's chickens have flown the coop, but one day may return to roost. After an anonymous complaint, the Capac police informed the Capac resident that her hens had to hit the road.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at Times Herald.
#1 Aug 18, 2012
CAPAC — Mary Langbeen’s chickens have flown the coop, but one day may return to roost. After an anonymous complaint, the Capac police informed the Capac resident that her hens had to hit the road.
“The police told me there was a poultry ordinance,” said Langbeen.“They came on a Friday and told me this was not a farm and I had until Monday to get rid of them. A relative in Attica is now caring for them.”
“There was no noise or smell issue. The hens rarely make a cluck except when they lay an egg. No rooster was involved. I felt the way the police handled it was a bit aggressive.”
Langbeen owned her four hens for over a year before she was given the ultimatum.
“I got them for the fresh eggs,” she said.“I could no longer find a seller in the village. I also do organic gardening and their manure is excellent fertilizer. They are also great at insect control.
“When I lived in Roseville I raised hens in my garden and never had a problem from anybody.”
Langbeen felt she was within her rights to own chicken within the city limits.
“I believe I was covered by the Michigan Right to Farm Act(MRTFA),” she said.“I was following the statutes of Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMP).”
That law, which was originally passed to protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits, has been recently used to justify the keeping of animals normally considered livestock within city or village limits. It has been posited that this law supersedes local ordinances if they can make a profit from their animals while following GAAMP standards.
Langbeen took her concern to the city council. The city attorney said the original ordinance justified the expulsion of her birds. Langbeen persisted in her quest to keep them.
“I put a petition together and took it to city officials,” said Langbeen.“Eventually, the result is that the planning commission is drawing up an ordinance to allow village residents to keep chickens.”
Capac Planning Commissioner Sandra Cox said the that in the original ordinance chickens were not specifically banned. However, any land use not expressly listed as a permitted use is interpreted as prohibited unless approval has been obtained from the planning commission.
““Because others cities are updating their ordinances the council has asked us to develop one that accommodated chicken ownership within the village limits,” said Cox.“Roosters will be banned. The chicken hens could only be used to produce eggs and those could only be used for home consumption. They could not be slaughtered for meat.
“This is not a done deal. The final decision will be at the village council level.”
Patti Weyhrauch, who lives near Langbeen, has no issue with the birds.
“I enjoy feeding them bread scraps and watching them run around,” she said.“Old timers will tell you that residents kept chickens in the village in the past. People get away with keeping rabbits in the town. What’s the difference between a chicken and a rabbit?”
#3 Aug 18, 2012
Patti Weyhrauch signs Mary Langbeen's petition to the Capac Village Council.
After going to many village council meetings and after being told that she had to get rid of her chickens,
Langbeen has decided to run for village council./
MARK R. RUMMEL/ TIMES HERALD
#4 Aug 18, 2012
Capac – What’s the Crime?
Help me understand the Chicken ordinance or lack thereof.
Seems an unknown person called the Mussey Township office to complain that maybe a resident was breaking an ordinance (chickens in the Village of Capac).
The Township office then calls the Village of Capac office to report an unknown person called about chickens. Following this?
Next thing you know the Capac Police knock on the residents door to advise of a “Chicken Ordinance” and notified the resident they had one day to get rid of them.
Along with the Village Police car was a State Police car that sat out in front of the residents’ house for nearly 2 hours.
Following up the resident questions this action and finds out there is no ordinance!! Turns out no one can find it. One ordinance the police did find about animals in district R-3 doesn't say anything about chickens.
In this case the "ordinance" was enforced, yet no one knew which one was being enforced for weeks. Only after consulting with the city attorney did they come up with one based on their attorney’s interpretation. Reading from District R-1, when clearly the resident lives in R-3 is not making sense. Clearly seems to be a vague and ambiguous ordinance probably ruled on by the State of Michigan Supreme Court.
This all begs the questions:
Who is the complainant?
What exactly is the complaint?
Was there a formal written ordinance violation issued?
Was a hearing date set?
What is the legal time line to comply?
Now it appears the Village of Capac Planning Commission has been holding meetings to write a “Chicken Ordinance” To this date it is still ongoing.
Really strange for all this going on in a 1.6 square mile Village historically known as Cows And Pigs And Chickens (CAPAC)!
#5 Aug 18, 2012
Michael, I think it is time to mind your own business. Let Mary fight her own battle.
#6 Aug 18, 2012
Capac Resident, just what exactly is your problem. Michael has every right to post whatever he wants.
Why don't you mind your own business for a change, your attitude STINKS!
Nothing that he has posted would harm Mary..I am sure that Michael has faith in Mary fighting her own battles, in my opinion he is offering support, and in my world that is helpful.
I think the more support for Mary and her chickens, the better!!!
The current Capac government needs to come into the realization that it is time to step up and clean up their act, before it is too late, and the State of Michigan comes and shovels them all to the side!!!!
#7 Aug 18, 2012
I support Mary too! Political battles cannot be fought and won by one person. Your kind of attitude is everything that is wrong with this town. People need to stop minding their own business and take
responsibility to know and understand what is happening here. The last thing we need is more ostriches burying their heads n the sand, bring on the chickens!
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