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Cobb Family Fights Chicken Ordinance

The Pond Family wants farm-fresh eggs straight from the source: backyard chickens.

Joseph and Elizabeth Pond want their family to get farm-fresh eggs from backyard chickens, and they've started a legal fight that's ruffling feathers.

They don't live on a farm. They live in a Cobb County subdivision.

According to Section 134 of the Cobb County ordinance, you need at least two acres to keep chickens on your property. The Pond family yard is smaller, but that's not stopping Joseph Pond's efforts to change the ordinance.

He already has the Polish chicken, the Rhode Island Reds and the Black Copper Morans as family pets and providers of fresh eggs.

The Ponds' two children, Madeline and Samuel, consider the chickens as pets that provide an important food source: eggs.

The code also says the coop must be 100 feet from the property line. Pond's coop is not, but he says his chickens have not disturbed neighbors.

Pond has filed for a variance. The variance hearing is Wednesday. If he fails, he'll have to hire an attorney if he wants to fight for the birds.

He needs two county commissioners to support changing the ordinance. If he succeeds, it will be brought before the full board for approval in January, which is when the commissioners update the code each year.

Pond’s district commissioner, JoAnn Birrell, has been in touch with him but said she supports the law as it stands, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

“There’s a reason for the code,” she told the MDJ. “And it’s been there since 1972.”

Northeast Cobb Patch asked Pond if he has had success in his mission. "I would say yes, there is success. We are definitely getting the word out, which is one of our goals. None of the commissioners have pledged support, but I remain optimistic. They know a lot more about backyard chickens now than they did before."

Pond's efforts are nothing to cluck at. He founded The Backyard Chickens Alliance of Cobb County, which is gaining members and supporters daily.

"We spent the first weekend of September at the . We had a great time there, and the patrons really enjoyed our booth. We brought my hens in the Port-A-Coop, as usual, and also brought some baby chicks, baby ducks, bunnies and Guinea pigs. We had a small petting zoo going on," Ponds said.

The Ponds and supporters marched in protest of the ordinance at today's East Cobber parade. They had a booth and petting zoo and educated the public about chickens.

Joan Shore September 14, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Reread the posts, they are calling names, ie criminal etc. But beyond that and to your point, Cock fighting is illegal period, as is dog fighting and the people doing this care NOTHING about it being legal, the amount of land etc. Yes, people dog fight also hard as it may seem, and there is no law/ordinance/restriction on the amount of land you have to have to have a dog or 30. The question here is THE AMOUNT OF LAND, not the chickens, chickens are legal. So the arguements you all present have less than nothing to do with what Mr Pond is trying to accomplish. If avian flu, varmits, etc were a threat of any sort, they would be illegal to own or require special permits etc, like tigers etc. The USDA use to have posters ENCOURAGING people having chickens, look this up!! Stating, it only takes a small piece of property to have a few chickens, every one should have at least one. Then people got upity, they did not HAVE to raise their food, they could BUY IT. It is a sign of WEALTH, like buying your clothes or making them. Please LOOK, RESEARCH, OPEN YOUR MINDS to something outside of tight mindedness. There is a whole WORLD out there!!
Joseph Pond September 16, 2011 at 08:48 AM
Jenny- Chapter 10 of the current code deals with Animals. It spells out clearly what 'nuisanse animals' are and specifically deals with health hazards. If anyone with any animal is not diligent with their animal's care, it is a Code Violation and should be reported as such. Thank you for your clear minded response!
Julie Hodges May 23, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Hey Mr. pond, you tell us the # for Backyard chickens aliance? thank you!
Joseph Pond May 23, 2012 at 08:30 PM
We do not have a phone number, but you can e-mail me thru the website, www.backyardchix.org Thanks!
Megan October 06, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I love the idea of having chickens in the backyard. It's the best way to know where your eggs are coming from and how the chickens are treated. Eggs from the store are more than likely coming from chickens who are kept in nesting boxes their entire life and living in filthy conditions. These eggs can carry disease and the chickens themselves are living an awful life. All animals should be treated with respect. I think it would be great if the law were changed. It would not promote cock fighting. Someone who is interested in cock fighting will do it whether the law is changed or not. Those people are criminals and heartless. They could care less what the law states. People who have smelly coops should be fined (since it's neglectful) but definitely not just for having a coop in general.

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