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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 13th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 50

Lompoc to allow residents to keep chickens as pets

By CHRIS MCGUINNES


 
The chickens have finally come home to roost in Lompoc, and some of the city’s residents couldn’t be happier.
 
After more than three years of debate and wrangling, the Lompoc City Council voted to amend a municipal ordinance to allow residents to keep chickens and other small animals as pets. The item was passed unanimously under the council’s consent calendar at a Feb. 5 regular meeting.
 
“It’s a nice thing to do,” Lompoc resident Anthony Loverde told the Sun. He showed up to an October 2018 meeting to advocate for the change wearing a “Legalize Chickens” T-shirt. “They are great pets. They’re fun to hang out with. … They are really no different from cats or dogs.”
 
The amendment revises the definition of a “household pet” to include small animals such as chickens, birds, ducks, rabbits, and Asian pot-bellied pigs. The animals can’t be kept for commercial purposes, and the ordinance excludes roosters, turkeys, and peacocks. The new ordinance limits the number of animals to six total.
 
While the amendment passed quietly and without comment or discussion at the Feb. 5 meeting, the road to its eventual passage was long and complicated. The Lompoc Planning Commission held a public hearing on the issue on Aug. 12, 2015, and recommended the council amend the household pets definition. The item failed on a 3-2 vote at a Sept. 15, 2015, meeting with a previous City Council. But in July 2018, the council voted to bring back a discussion of the issue, and it was introduced for a first reading at an Oct. 16 meeting that same year.
 
“This has been a pretty popular item as far as from where I’m sitting,” Councilmember Victor Vega said at the October 2018 meeting. “It looks like there’s a lot of public support for a change in our ordinances regarding household pets.”
 
Loverde said he was happy to see the city finally pass the ordinance and replace the old one, which banned keeping chickens as pets. He said he believed that the initial reluctance by some about allowing such animals in the city was based on incorrect stereotypes of chickens.
 
“There’s a perception that they are farm animals so they are dirty, and that they might impact the value of other homes,” he said. “But really, there’s very little difference between chickens and cats and dogs with it comes to things like smell and noise. Really, it comes down to the owners taking care of their pets.”




Weekly Poll
How should the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District improve its A-G completion rates?

Align graduation requirements with university entrance requirements.
Ensure that students and parents are well aware of A-Gs and what they are before high school.
Improve support services and summer school classes for students who fall behind.
Completion rates are fine as is. Not everyone wants to go to a four-year college!

| Poll Results