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Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

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Alynn
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Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Alynn » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:36 pm

I'm extremely worried about this little zoning ordiance I found while checking through my city's ordinances again. Apparently I missed this the first time I checked.

Sec. 106-145. - Animals, livestock and fowl.

No animal, livestock or fowl, or structures for such animal, livestock or fowl, other than common household pets, shall be permitted as an accessory for use, shelter or storage in the city.

(Zoning Ord. § 4.38)
Cross reference— Animals, ch. 6.



http://library.municode.com/HTML/13604/ ... -145ANLIFO

This is especially confusing for me, as I've known other people who have had foxes in the city. One person was trying to rehome hers because she was moving.

Furthermore, my neighbors have kept chickens in their yard without incident, and my teacher's mom has a pot bellied pig. She checked with with the city administration and they said it was fine.

So... kind of freaking out here.
Does this mean anything? Is it in fact illegal for me to have Miehiera?

Please help, I'm shaking and freaking out here! :nogif:
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby amyers » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:45 pm

Looks like it might TECHNICALLY be illegal, but if they aren't enforcing it, you shouldn't have much to worry about. As a legal argument, you can always tell them they can't selectively enforce, ie if you can't keep your fox, other people can't keep their chickens, pigs, etc. If they can keep theirs you can keep yours. ;)

Seriously, if no body complains, then you should be fine.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:29 pm

Zoning sometimes plays a part. Like my city bans farm animals(not "wild" animals though) but some people can have them if they are zoned for agriculture. The person on the corner got some chickens and the zoning officer payed them visits, and probably fined them, till they got rid of them. But one person with a huge yard has a bunch and never has any problems so likely has the farm zoning from long ago, as farm zoned areas are allowed the farm animals.

So you could check what you and others who had them are zoned as but it does look bad as she's still not really a farm animal either.

This is the same thing basically that happened with Gizmo. She was able to get a variance for him but had to never take him any where or let anyone come in contact with him.

The options are keep your head down, don't take her in public inside the city and hope no one cares, but you know how people are if anyone knows and doesn't like it or you they could report you then someone looks it up and realizes it's not legal and...

Or be proactive and try applying for a variance to keep her and hope you get it.

Both have obvious drawbacks.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:34 pm

Also consider if you are actually inside city limits. You should be able to get a map from the city. You can have an address for the city but not actually be inside the city limits and in that case only be under the county rules.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Ash » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:35 pm

It sounds like you'll be okay, even if what you're doing is technically against the law. It doesn't sound like the city is enforcing the law though. Now, if somebody came in and started cracking down on the people with chickens and potbellied pigs, then I'd be concerned. Just because it's a fox doesn't mean it deserves "more severe" treatment than the other two species.

In all honesty, the city probably doesn't know its own laws, or it really just doesn't care. When I was growing up I had pet chickens, and we didn't know it was illegal. But everybody knew we had them (it was a smallish town) and nobody said anything. I just think they may not want anybody going overboard--like raising cattle in their backyard. :)
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Whatsername » Mon Oct 10, 2011 7:03 pm

It's illegal to sleep with your shoes on in my town. xD Also, there's some bizarre law about it being legal to shot an Native American on the third wednesday of every month if you are riding on a horse and carriage down Main Ave. O.o Or something like that. Yeah I'm pretty sure no one has tried that and I hope no one ever will or that they will change it!

Anyway, who says what a "common household pet" is? Are ferrets? What about chinchillas? Hedgehogs? Fennecs, all foxes? Where do they draw the line? What is "common"? Because certainly there are many people out there who own foxes. Now, if you had a sloth or something that isn't nearly as "common" in the exotic animal trade, maybe then there would be a concern. I dunno, I think laws are too vague.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Alynn » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:00 pm

Whatsername: That's the small loophole I found.
They mention the only animals being allowed as 'common household pets'... but never define this.
They define 'animal': "Animal means a dog, cat, bird, reptile, mammal, fish or any other dumb creature."

But do not define a common household pet.
It mentions it again later when defining kennel:
"Kennel means any lot or premises on which three or more common house pets are permanently or temporarily kept and boarded outside of the principal structure."

No where in the code of ordinances is common household pet defined.

Not only that, but I talked to my professor (a police officer in my city for 30 years, and a police Sargent), and he says he doesn't know anything about it and his neighbor has pet groundhogs and he never did anything about it.

I'd like to be proactive about it, and apply for a variance. Because I'd rather not have her confiscated and euthanized, and at least if I apply for a variance and get rejected, I'll likely have a chance to rehome her. But I also don't want to stir up a fuss.

Though, I'm pretty sure that the general public agrees that a common household pet does not include a fox, heh. :roll:

Keeping her out of the public eye shouldn't be a problem, she won't walk out on a leash anyway. When I tried she was extremely skittish. All my neighbors know I have her, and none of them have had an issue with it. One of them had a raccoon, the other has ten dogs, breeding them and no kennel license (in my city you can only have 7 if I remember correctly). Both of them have had the police visit their property on unrelated issues, both of them never had a problem with their ordinance violations, lol.

So, I think the best thing to do is make sure I have a strong paper trail for Miehiera, keep her out of the public eye, have her fixed, make sure she is vaccinated and keep her in the best conditions. If anyone has a problem and the police come knocking, we can apply for a variance, and if that's rejected then worst case scenario we'll have to rehome her.

Best case scenario, no one cares for another year or so. We're looking at moving out of this house probably next year, and my dad doesn't want to live in the city. He wants to at least move out of the city limits, but wants to get out of this county but can't because to go to my school I have to be in the county. xD
I've also double checked the county ordinances, no regulations against having any other animals excepted those that are protected, which arctic foxes do not fall under.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Lasergrl » Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:14 pm

yeah you can say they havent defined it well enough. When I was in the burbs, I had my serval and fennec. The ordinance says that no wild animals are allowed. I pointed out that federal definition they are "exotic", and native species are "wild" so got away with it.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Alynn » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:52 am

Christ, I had a heart attack this morning.
I woke up and my mom asked if I had heard animal control come to the door. They came to our side door and were knocking, and dogs were barking. My mom was woken up, got up and headed downstairs, but they had moved onto my neighbors house and were there for what she told me was like 20 minutes. She also saw my neighbors dog running loose and was even on our front porch, their lab and GSD mix.

She told me that she saw them stopping at a bunch of different doors.

At first we thought they were sweeping the neighborhood for dog licences, but they haven't done sweeps for the past two years and didn't publish anything.

So I don't know what that is about. Someone probably saw him running loose AGAIN and called animal control, and he has bitten several times before and will also come into people's backyards. I've had to chase him off several times, and many other times I've grabbed him by the collar and taken him home.

Either way they freaked me out.

So now I'm probably going to bring Miehiera in the house because I'm freaking out. o_o
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Juska » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:04 pm

We recently called the zoning board because of something like this. Our trailer-trash neighbors across the road from us stole a rooster from the neighboring farm during the flood, and have it caged on their property. Mind you, they don't own the land or the trailer they live in, and we're not in city limits. It crows day and night and drives everyone crazy. So because of this, we called the zoning board to come talk to them about it, and hopefully take the rooster as those people aren't supposed to have animals anyway (they've left their dogs and cats run loose in the past and breed with other strays). They said they'd send someone out to look soon.

I don't think Miehiera will "bother" anyone and urge people to call. The rooster is also stolen and miserable, so that's the other reason we called.

Around where I live, people often have animals they shouldn't, so this zoning law is common knowledge. However, when the authorities are called, it's usually because someone isn't caring for their animals or there is an imminent danger to people or animals because of something.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Ash » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:17 pm

Juska, for real? Who in their right mind would steal a rooster? :roll: :lol:

Alynn, if you've already talked to a police officer and he's okay with it all, I'm sure everything will be fine.
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Re: Urgent! Problem with zoning ordinance?

Postby Juska » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:58 pm

lol, they'll steal anything. Their main source of income is stealing junk metal to sell for scrap.
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