The first letter begins "As a lad growing up on a farm in the 1920s and 1930s, it was my responsibility to clean the hen house and yard on whichever Saturday Dad deemed the proper time. I have not cleaned a chicken house or yard in over 60 years, but the following facts are indelibly etched in my olfactory memories." The writer recalls the stink of said coop and how the heat and humidity of a summer day concentrate that smell of poop and the chickens' molted feathers. I don't mean to disparage this fair writer's memory (of events from at least 70 years ago), but chickens naturally molt in the Fall, so if the owner's got a coop that stinks of excreta and feathers in the summer, you've got an animal abuse issue on your hands, not a chicken issue.
The second letter is in the same vein, although the claims are a bit more outlandish:
And then the writer concludes "Folks from St. Peter and other towns should butt out -- this is a Mankato issue."
Chickens are dirty, they smell and can carry disease and parasites. Chickens attract mice, rats and predators such as fox, skunks and feral cats.
There are some groups that will disregard the rules, either on purpose or through ignorance. They will have larger flocks, maybe improper cages and large slaughtering operations.
Mankato just received regional status; let’s not revert to Mayberry status.
I can just imagine our leaders meeting with officers of some large company considering a move to locate in Mankato. You can tell their top executive, “oh, by the way, you may be living next to a chicken coop and a chicken slaughtering operation.” That will sure impress them.
If I were an officer of a large company considering a move to locate in Mankato, I'd be more concerned about how many other residents harbor the status quo loving NIMBYism as the writers of the above two letters than I would about an urban chicken law on the books (like they've got in New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles...)
Here's hoping saner heads prevail in Mankato.