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West Valley City Weighs Chicken Ordinance

Markus Koljonen via Wikimedia Commons

The West Valley City Council decided last night to postpone passing an ordinance that would allow residents to keep chickens in their yards. The decision came after residents made cases both for and against the measure at Tuesday’s meeting. Layne Morris is Director of West Valley City’s Community Preservation Department which deals with code enforcement and animal services. He says he gets up to 20 calls a week from residents complaining about chickens.  But he says people also complain about the city’s ban on the birds.  

“There are people out there who don’t like dogs and don’t like cats but we as a society have decided that the potential nuisance of dogs and cats is worth putting up with because we like having dogs and cats around. And this really is what the city council is considering is do we want to add chickens to the list of animals we like having around our home.”  

Carly Gillespie with Wasatch Community Gardens says chickens are a great way for communities and families to reconnect with their food system and keep a low maintenance pet for the family. She says many cities have created successful ordinances including Salt Lake City where residents can have up to 15 chickens as long as they’re kept in the backyard and away from neighbor’s homes.

“If you are maintaining a coup and following the ordinances that the cities and counties are putting forth, you shouldn’t have issues with overwhelming scent and because cities and counties are not allowing roosters, I think the noise issue is no worse than people who have barking dogs in their backyard.”

West Valley City’s proposed ordinance would let residents keep up to four chickens per household.

The council is expected to make changes to the proposal and revisit the issue next month. 

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