Our objections are based on one or more of the following concerns:
• Chickens carry diseases, both highly transmissible to humans and other types, including avian flu, cholera, typhoid, e coli, pox, and botulism, among many others. (Exhibit A). Dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated and registered within the City of Rockledge; although chicken vaccinations exist to help mitigate some diseases, neither vaccination nor registration is required by the proposed ordinance as amended.
• Chickens are a noise nuisance. Under section 12-7 (2)(c) of the City of Rockledge ordinances (Exhibit B), birds are specifically identified as a possible source of noise pollution, with a limit of 30 minutes of intermittent noise allowed at or above prescribed decibel levels before legally becoming a nuisance. Chickens make noise during all daylight hours, cannot be trained to be quiet, and according to this ordinance will be outside animals, where the noise will carry to neighboring yards.
• Chickens produce large quantities of guano, which is a highly unpleasant ammonia-based substance. So many variables affect the strength of the odor, including humidity, rainfall, temperature, wind direction and velocity, proximity of neighbors and frequency of cleanup that those sections of the proposed ordinance attempting to deal with the problem are impractical and unenforceable.
• Chickens are an attractive nuisance to already-allowed domestic dogs and cats, as well as a broad spectrum of wild animals and predatory birds known to reside in the area. Female chickens are natural prey with few defense mechanisms, easily scented and heard, and can be the cause of neighborhood disputes as predators attempt to or are successful in attacking them.
• The additional workload on city personnel proposed in this amendment, including but not limited to enforcement of applicable building codes, inspections, and proper maintenance and cleanup of chicken coops, and mediation of or response to any neighboring disputes, is neither acknowledged nor provided for financially in the proposal. At a time when property taxes are low and budgetary items of greater importance cannot be sustained, this additional burden on city personnel is frivolous and undesirable.