It seems the goings-on in Winona are playing out to this familiar pattern seen as urban chickens become more prevalent:
- (typically anonymous) concerned citizen alerts council person to existence of poultry in urban area
- (now) concerned council person over-reacts and moves to ban all chickens from city limits
- cooler heads prevail and the matter's referred to committee
- advocates and dissenters line up on either side of the issue and sing their usual tunes of "in moderation, it's good" v "dirty, smelly creatures must be banished to rural farms"
- press gets wind of the matter and highlights eccentric outlying cases as being central to the matter
- add a little Google juice so word spreads through blogs
- stay tuned to find out if chickens get the boot!
In the Winona article, I was more than a little amused to see the following bit of aged evidence submitted for consideration:
Councilman Al Thurley pointed out that historically, keeping chickens did result in increased problems for law enforcement, citing a 1901 report in the Winona Republican Herald on chicken thieves operating in the city.Looking at the data on Winona County (provided by city-data.com), the population of 49,276 (65% urban, 35% rural) appears to be predominantly white (95.1%) and young (32.8 years) in a county where the median household income is $42,737 and the median home value is $161,000.
While I can't find turn-of-the-last century data on the county, I certainly hope things have changed in Winona in the last 107 years such that chicken thieves won't be quite the public menace anymore.