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Chicken Controversy Taken to Court in Luzerne County

SWOYERSVILLE — The battle between three women who own backyard hens and Luzerne County zoning and planning officials was taken to a district courtroom on Monday.

A district magistrate sided with county officials, who said chickens do not belong in residential areas.

Pringle borough and 22 other municipalities follow Luzerne County zoning ordinances, which prohibit backyard hens.

Christine Dixon told Newswatch 16 that she already found a temporary home for her chickens before the hearing, but she and two other women were told that they would face hundreds of dollars in fines if the animals aren’t removed within 30 days.

“I am hoping its temporary. We`re still hoping to get the law changed at the county level,” said Dixon.

Several of Dixon’s neighbors came to the hearing for support, and said they were surprised that the case was not thrown out.

“They’re backyard hens. That is all they are,” said Mary Ann Pelliccia. “My dog makes more noise and causes probably more problems than the chickens do. The chickens do not make any noise. They do not stink. They are not an eyesore.”

Luzerne County Zoning and Planning Director Nancy Snee said she and other officials are simply following the rules that are on the books.

“How we personally feel about chickens in residential zones is a moot point,” said Snee. “We just have to enforce the ordinance and we’ve waited several months to do this.”

Dixon, who is a Pringle Borough Councilwoman, said she is not getting preferential treatment.

“Absolutely not, as you have seen today,” said Dixon. “I am a member of Pringle Borough Council, but I still got fined. And I should, I should not be treated differently because of that.”

Luzerne County Council officials are expected to discuss a possible revision to the backyard hen ordinance at a meeting on Tuesday.

10 comments

  • Dave

    The law enforcer is only doing her job… A neighbor turned them in… The council ought to send that neighbor a message… Hint… It’s the Lady who’s always peaking out her window when you and any other neighbor arrives home..

  • Ashley Dancho

    I am totally stunned that anyone can not have a couple of hens in their back yard. They can be easily kept clean and are not dangerous animals . They are funny, entertaining and give healthy eggs as well. I really enjoy my chickens.. I can’t imagine life without my beautiful backyard flock. I always thought there was something just wrong with the people in this area. They are not very well educated or aware that there people have rights too. I don’t know what but people here seem downright out of touch with real life here. Many of the people crying about a couple of beautiful birds, have large aggressive dogs that should never be allowed in residential areas. Try googling fatal dog attacks and read about all of the children and adults, mauled to death by dogs. Dogs can stink too if not cleaned , they bark, and they can kill innocent human beings which hens will not. I am not anti dog but I do have strong feelings about aggressive dogs in residential areas. I don’t think they should be allowed. This whole thing seriously has me doubting the intelligence of the people in this county and those who make stupid laws. Lets have potentially dangerous dogs and welcome them everywhere, but protect our neighborhoods from those dangerous hens! That makes perfect sense to me. I will take the hens as neighbors any day. I feel so bad for these people who are being treated like criminals for having a few hens. Its just very sad. They are not hurting anyone and have done nothing wrong.

  • L.S.

    Let her have her chickens! Geesh. Have you all even been to Pringle? People still have burn barrels (which should be banned, but nope, those make money by charging for permits) and clotheslines. It’s not a luxurious borough by any means. Keep the chickens. Ban the burn barrels!

  • John Pawling

    Why is WNEP no longer broadcast in State College? I have sent two emails to your general manager, but have not received a reply. There are many of us here who have watched CH 16 news and weather for 20 + years. What is the problem??

    • Todd Reeder

      I sent two email over a year ago asking about a story. I never got an email answering my question. i suggested to the webmaster they have links for previous news broadcast so it is easier for someone to watch earlier news broadcast. To see a previous broadcast that day you have to get the slider in the right spot of the player. Many times it takes forever. And enduring lots of commercials. And most times you have to watch several minutes of a different broadcast till the one you want starts. And many times it doesn’t go to the one you want. The webmaster said the wont make links for previous news broadcast. WNEP is not viewer friendly. I emailed WBRE asking if they plan to put their news online. Nothing from them.

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