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COBB | County cracks down on families with chickens | News

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COBB | County cracks down on families with chickens

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Leigh Forrester-Savage has names for all of them. She insists they come when she calls them and says they are as entertaining as her dogs if not more so.

She's describing her family's 15 chickens. Eleven of them are miniature breeds and each has a different color and set of feathers atop its head.

"I thought chickens just came in white. We've got a Silkie Bantam, Polish Top Hats, Jersey Giants, all sorts," Forrester-Savage said. 

She's always wanted a chicken as a pet. After she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, she decided to make some changes to her life.

"I wanted to start eating more healthful and organic. One way to do that was get fresh eggs," Forrester-Savage said.

For nearly a year, she and her family have raised the chickens in their backyard with no issues from neighbors.

But on Friday, she was informed by both her homeowner's association and Cobb County that the chickens will have to go.

"It says if you want to keep livestock, you have to have at least two acres of land," said Danny Savage, Forrester-Savage's husband.  "But we don't think of them as livestock. They're pets."

If it sounds like a familiar story, it is. In August, 11Alive News profiled Joseph Pond, a Marietta resident who was also ordered by Cobb County to get rid of his chickens. He tried unsuccessfully to convince commissioners chickens are pets, and is now working with state legislators on a "right to grow" act. 

"I should be able to have a few hens to feed my family fresh eggs, and because a neighbor doesn't like the sight of my chickens is not a good enough reason for me to have to give them up," Pond said.

Pond has started a sign-up petition at www.backyardchix.org and is hoping to get a law on the books this year.

"People all over the state are losing their chickens, and it is a simple question of homeowner's rights. We have a right to grow food on our own property," he said.

In the meantime,  Forrester-Savage will be giving her prized chickens to someone who has more acreage. They've been assured they can still get fresh eggs, but she is more concerned about the pets she will have to say goodbye to.

"I'm attached to them. It may seem silly. I know they're just chickens, but they're part of our family now," Forrester-Savage said.

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