Township seeks help with nuisance chickens

AUSTINTOWN — Township trustees and the zoning department are asking residents for help identifying the homes of nuisance chickens who are wandering beyond their yards and causing messes in neighbor’s yards.

“You can’t call the dog catcher to catch chickens,” Trustee Jim Davis said.

Davis said the township is having a problem with undomesticated chickens roaming free. As the weather gets colder, the birds have been climbing onto cars and defecating.

“When somebody has chickens and they’re not in their yard, they must be in their neighbor’s yard,” said Davis.

Eric Harris Sr., assistant zoning inspector, said the number of chickens is not the problem, it’s how many people are being affected.

Harris said the township has only one ordinance that pertains to chickens, which simply states “undomesticated” animals must be housed 100 feet from a structure. In order for the zoning department to declare the animals a nuisance, they must know to which property the animals belong, and act on the property instead of the animals. That’s why trustees on Monday night called for residents’ help in pinpointing owners of the roaming chickens.

One of 14 properties deemed nuisances during Monday’s regular trustees meeting was cited for having loose chickens. Three other nuisance properties were called out for the presence of rodents, among other violations.

“Rodents are always going to be a problem. They live outside.” Harris said. “If you provide them houses — grass clippings at the back of the yard — they’re going to come around.”

Trustee Ken Carano pointed to bird seed not kept up high and fecal matter as additional draws for rodents.

Harris said residents with dogs have a “responsibility” to clean up after their pets, and he encouraged residents to sprinkle lime on pet feces to neutralize it.

Davis said keeping control of all pets — cats, dogs, and yes, chickens — is a matter of respect.

“Please realize not everybody likes your pet. Try to have some respect for your neighbors,” Davis said.

In other business, trustees:

• Announced trick or treat will be 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 31;

• Approved $50,000 and $150,000 advances from the general fund to zoning and communications respectively and approved a $40,000 repayment to the general fund from lighting districts;

• Reminded residents the Austintown Farmers Market costumed 5K and children’s trunk-or-treat will be 5 to 8 p.m. Friday in Austintown Township Park. A Christmas Farmers Market will be held in November;

• Announced Big Lots demolition will begin Jan. 1;

• Carano reminded residents to participate in the upcoming census because its results dictate the amount of funding the township gets;

• Announced the Ohio Department of Transportation will have a public meeting to discuss potentially removing the bridge on Lanterman Road, off Four Mile Run Road, at 5 p.m. Nov. 7 at Four Mile Run Christian Church.


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