Chicken controversy ruffles feathers in Medford - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Chicken controversy ruffles feathers in Medford

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By Heather Sawaski - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEDFORD (WAOW) -- After weeks of debate, it looks like the battle over keeping chickens in the City of Medford could soon come to a peaceful end. 

 

Big Mama, Girlfriend, and Chicken. They've been family pets of the Kohn family for nearly 2 years.

"They make nice pets," said Joseph Kohn, of his trio of hens. "They're a nice addition to the backyard. It's nice to sit out and watch them."

 

Kohn says he was in shock when, earlier this month, the Medford City Council voted to ban chickens within the city limits. That would mean he'd have to get rid of his hens almost immediately. That's not something this chicken owner was willing to do without a fight.

"I guess whatever people want to call this," he said. "Chickens in the backyard, backyard poultry, a movement, a fad. Call it what you want. For our family, it's here to stay. For lots of families around the state and country, it's here."

 

Medford Mayor Mike Wellner says the chicken controversy came about after a comment from a concerned citizen about the noise and the smell.

"As we looked into it, our City Attorney advised us that we should have a clear ordinance," Wellner explained. "either to allow the chickens or not to allow the chickens. So we started that process."

 

It was a process that ruffled a lot of feathers in the community. Kohn spearheaded a group of residents who banded together for the right to keep their birds at home. After weeks of petitioning to the council, it appears their effort has paid off. Mayor Wellner says just Monday, one of the council members who'd originally voted in favor of the ban has had a change of heart.

"At our September 21st meeting, she's going to bring an amendment to allow chickens with certain restrictions," Wellner said.

 

Restrictions like licensing and limiting the number of chickens allowed. That's good news for Joseph Kohn, but he knows not to count his chickens before they hatch.

"We have a little while before the 21st of September," he said. "But I think things are going to work out favorably for us."

The Mayor says the council is looking into chicken ordinances in other cities, like Madison and Marshfield.  He hopes to base Medford's restrictions after those proven to work.

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