Council takes correct step with chicken ban decision

Ask the average person to name animals that live on a farm, and it doesn’t take long before they list chickens. Although that’s to be expected, the city of Columbus is now finally in the process of designating chickens with that distinction.

The impact of doing so means that chickens no longer will be permitted as pets within city limits.

The Columbus City Council gave initial approval by a 5-2 vote June 21 to amend the city’s animal care ordinance to classify chickens as farm animals, which are prohibited from being kept as pets in the city. The council can give final approval at its meeting Tuesday, when another public hearing on the issue will be conducted.

Final approval would put chickens on par, for example, with turkeys, ducks, donkeys, cattle and pigs — already designated as farm animals. That’s the right decision.

It’s true that some people consider certain farm animals to be family pets, and whether a chicken is a pet or a farm animal will vary among individuals and families. The more pertinent issue is that city residents have certain expectations when they move into a neighborhood, and living next door to animals more commonly seen on farms is not one of them.

Designating chickens as farm animals also brings some needed order to the city’s animal care ordinance. It would seem out of sorts for chickens to be allowed as pets when turkeys, geese and ducks, for example, are not because they’re considered farm animals. Amending the ordinance also reduces the possibility that some city residents may want other farm animals — such as sheep and pigs, for example — reclassified as domestic animals in order to keep them as pets in the city — which would cause more problems.

We agree with the council’s decision to amend the ordinance about farm animals and encourage it to make the change final on Tuesday. Pets or not, chickens belong in the country.