By Associated Press - Friday, September 5, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Two Grand Rapids women have appealed to a city housing board after inspectors ticketed them for violating rules related to backyard farm animals.

The Grand Rapids Press reports ( ) that Claire McGinn and Kendra Ritter have 10 chickens, five ducks, a turkey, two giant rabbits and a pig nicknamed Spencer (full name: Lord Bacon Dispenser the Third Duke of Hamelot) in their backyard.

McGinn was ticketed this summer for violating a city code that says livestock can’t be within 100 feet of any city dwelling. She was also cited for strong animal waste odor from some of the animals. The backyard has kiddie pools filled with water, a chicken coop and a duck house. Ritter said she’s always wanted to have a farm.

The Housing Board of Appeals started hearing the case last month and will reconvene next week.

Board member Michael Tuffelmire says the city may need to rethink its policies to be fair to people from different socioeconomics groups who may not be able to afford bigger lots and to attract younger residents.

“Urban farming is happening,” Tuffelmire said. “That’s where we need to go. It looks like the policy isn’t keeping up with the time.”

Four years ago the city considering relaxing restrictions on backyard chickens, but the proposal failed.

McGinn thinks a better minimum required distance for animal pens would be 25 feet from homes.

“It’s our property and we want to provide our family with the food our grandparents had. People deserve to have good food, good quality nutrition,” she said. “People deserve to be able to use their property.”


Information from: The Grand Rapids Press,

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