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Park River votes to let residents keep chickens in city limits

PARK RIVER — Chickens — or at least hens — rule the roost in Park River, where voters approved an ordinance amendment Tuesday to allow residents to keep up to eight hens.

Residents voted 265-159 in favor of the change to a decades-old law that outlawed all kinds of livestock at city residences.

Under the law change, residents may keep as many as eight hens without a license, as long as they have approval from 75 percent of the property owners within 200 feet of their coops, and comply with other rules governing the poultry, including a ban on slaughtering or butchering within city limits.

The measure was initiated last fall after complaints were filed against at least one resident who kept chickens, including a rooster, in a backyard coop. All poultry owners — reportedly about three — were informed they had to get rid of their chickens. One owner, Teresa Gire, protested, saying she regards her four hens as pets.

The City Council reconsidered the ordinance and after a tie vote decided to put the issue on the ballot.

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