Cove chickens

Chickens are seen in the backyard of a home in Copperas Cove.

COPPERAS COVE — Chicken-owning residents will not be charged for ordinance fouls until the City Council can better evaluate the policy later this year.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting, officials unanimously approved a motion to not actively enforce the city’s ordinance prohibiting chickens in R-1 residentially zoned districts, unless a resident files a valid complaint with the city.

City Attorney Habib H. Erkan said such complaints would include unkempt pens or a situation that endangers health and human safety. A city official would verify the complaints’ merits.

“Since we have warnings that have been issued to current residents ... what does council want us to do with those warnings — because it’s really not those residents’ fault that we don’t have an opening in our workshop schedule until October,” City Manager Andrea Gardner said, referring to zoning violations issued in February.

Councilmember Frank Seffrood asked Gardner about the open-ended nature of the ruling — which leaves the clarification of the city’s chicken-as-pets policy up to the council.

In response, Gardner said there was no way to tell how long it would take to research or revise the existing ordinance.

Sgt. Shane Rawlings, assigned to the 206th Military Intelligence Battalion and who received a Feb. 23 notice stating his five chickens violated the city zoning ordinance, spoke to the council after the motion passed.

Rawlings disagreed with some of the possible restriction mentioned at Tuesday’s meeting, including allowing only three chickens per household, requiring chicken coops to be located 50 feet from dwellings and mandating coop inspections by city officials.

“In (City) Article 3-32, it says you can have four dogs per person ... if you can have 16 dogs for a family of four, why limit it to three chickens per household?” He said.

“I just do not want this issue being swept under the rug,” Rawlings said after the meeting, referring to the fact the city gave no timeline for clarifying the ordinance.

Contact Courtney Griffin at or 254-501-7559

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