COPPERAS COVE — It was all about the chickens at Tuesday’s Copperas Cove City Council meeting.
During the public comments portion of the workshop, several residents spoke in support of raising the fowl as pets, including two active-duty Foot Hood soldiers.
Sgt. Shane Rawlings, assigned to the 206th Military Intelligence Battalion, said he received a notice on Feb. 23 that his five chickens violated the city zoning ordinance banning livestock in a residential area. He was informed they would have to be removed or he’d be fined.
“The city claimed that chickens aren’t pets, but they didn’t give me any real information on what the zoning ordinance really meant, either,” Rawlings said.
“We have them as pets to teach our kids responsibility and how to raise an animal.”
Sgt. Thomas Remmer of the 582nd Medical Logistics Company, 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, came back from Afghanistan and said he, too, has six chickens as pets.
“I didn’t even know Rawlings was here tonight about the same issue,” Remmer said, “but I showed up to voice my opinion and be heard. My chickens soothe and help me relax. The day they laid three eggs, I got the notice to get rid of them.”
One by one, residents like Rawlings’ wife, Chelsea, and Matthew Russell voiced their support for revising the Section Code 20-10.
“I had no idea it was going to be such a good turnout for chickens,” Russell told the council. “The city of Austin figured it out and I hope we can figure out a way to revise the code and zoning ordinances so we can allow for chickens.”
Chelsea Rawlings said they even had a petition signed by neighbors in support of their fight with the city and they’d received a lot of positive feedback, including 160 supporters on Facebook and on websites such as Change.org.
When one of Rawlings’ family members read aloud her research on another city’s ordinance that allowed for chickens, City Manager Andrea Gardner requested a copy. Rawlings said he’s still not sure what the next step is, but he was ready to go to court and fight if need be.