Backyard chicken ban ruffles feathers in Mt. Washington

MT. WASHINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- Six chicks for one dude isn't too much for Brian Brashear to handle.

Poached, scrambled or fried, the 30-year-old man from Mt. Washington said he just likes to know where his food comes from.

"I like to be able to go to my backyard and pull eggs and say to my fiancé, 'We have this food in our backyard, and we don't have to go to the store and figure out if this bird has been mistreated,'" Brashear said.

But chicks cause problems in Mt. Washington, and it's right in the city rules. They're banned, considered a farm animal and a nuisance, due to an ordinance that dates back to 1984. 

Brashear started an online petition asking the city to change the ordinance and allow backyard chickens. It gained 300 signatures in a couple days.

"There's a lot more chickens here in the community than I was was aware of," said Barry Armstrong, mayor of Mt. Washington. 

"Not to be punny, but they do fly under the radar," Brashear joked.

Still, Armstrong said other residents in the city were not so excited.

"The city residents do not want chickens as their next-door neighbor," he said.

The concerns mostly surround the smell and chickens flying the coup, but the ban is not heavily enforced.

"I don't want to cause anyone any problems, but if there's a next-door neighbor complaining about chickens, I'm going to make those birds be removed from the property," Armstrong said.

Brashear is pushing for middle ground, citing ordinances in cities like Louisville, La Grange and Lexington. He wants rules that limit the number of chickens at a home and require the owner to keep them on their property with the cages clean.

But Armstrong said he needs more support.

"(If) it was a petition with 5,000 signatures on it, that would get the city council's attention," he said. "I promise you that."

 In the meantime, Brashear will keep his chicks flying under the radar.

"As long as we work together within the community and city government, we can really come up with some common sense regulation to get this to worked out," he said.

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