The article's author, Nick Timiraos, does a good job of providing color to the struggles that Barbara Palermo, Nancy Baker-Krofft and others are enduring while trying to convince city councilors to allow homeowners to have three hens in enclosed coops. (Salem's City Council remains divided on the issue, but it seems a vote is imminent, and the Mayor's in support of the measure).
What I find most interesting about the story is the new forms of hysteria drummed up by the decidedly anti-chicken crowd of Salem.
"What's next? Goats? Llamas? Get a farm." says Terri Frohnmayer, a co-chairwoman of one of Salem's neighborhood associations. Beg pardon? I thought we were talking about chickens here. Let's keep our eye on the ball, shall we?
Salem disallowed residents from keeping livestock, including chickens, in the 1970s when it decided "to be a city and not a rural community," says Chuck Bennett, a Salem City Council member who opposes backyard chickens. So the only thing that's keeping Salem from reverting to a rural community is the absence of eggs in backyards? This satellite view of Salem should quickly dispel any notion that Salem's just one cluck away from being mistaken for a big ol' farm.
It's only more than halfway through the article that we arrive at the meat of the issue:
The biggest concern, however, is that chickens will just lead to more conflicts between chicken owners and neighbors who own more traditional pets, like dogs. "You can just see the conflict associated with the addition of another animal into this kind of [close] environment," says Mr. Bennett, the council member.It would seem that (some) dog owners are concerned their canines just won't be able to help themselves with chickens next door and, you know, will wind up eating these tasty treats on two legs.
According to Timiraos, Mrs. Frohnmayer (she of the "Get a farm!" advice) "often finds her own springer spaniel sizing up chickens on her neighbor's farm. It's only natural, she says, for her dog to want to eat her neighbor's birds. 'Are they going to put my dog down when it eats one of their chickens?' she says."
Let me take a swipe at the answer to this one:
We won't put your dog down when it trespasses and eats the first chicken, Mrs. Frohnmayer. But if you can't keep your dog off my property and prevent it from eating my pets, you can bet your uncontrollable pooch will be getting a visit from the animal control officer.
Unless, of course, I've followed your advice and your dog trespasses out on my farm. From what I understand about farming, you're allowed to shoot predators to protect your livestock.
Get a farm, indeed.