Indianola Residents in Game of Chicken with City Council

INDIANOLA, Iowa – Some residents of Indianola say they aren’t backing down when it comes to pushing for a change in city policy over keeping chickens and ducks as pets within city limits.

Jeremy and Corissa Arndt have two twin boys, Nicholas and Collin, and a handful of pets, as well. Yes, they own two dogs, but when they talk about their “pets”, they’re also referring to some feathered friends fenced-in on the side of their home in Indianola.

“The boys play tag with them, they put the bases around and play kickball, and the one boy duck chases them around,” said Corissa Arndt. “And they carry them, and feed them corn-on-the-cob, and they just play with them like they play with our dogs.”

But after a complaint was made about the ducks and chickens kept at their home, the Indianola City Council has to enforce an already-set city ordinance banning such animals from being owned as pets in city limits. While the current city ordinance allows for exceptions to be granted to individuals by the council, certain council members are now suggesting even that be eliminated, and the ordinance enforced throughout the community.

“We love them, we don’t want to get rid of them – absolutely not,” said Carrie Harris, another chicken-owner in town. “They’re one of our pets!”

Now, the Harris and the Arndt’s have started both a print and online petition to gain the community’s support in keeping their pets. They say their pets don’t smell or create noise in the neighborhood. They use the ducks’ and chickens’ eggs for breakfast every morning, and teach their sons responsibility by requiring them to take care of the birds. Other community members are getting behind them, too: a Facebook group and an online-petition have over 100 members thus far, and the Arndt’s hope to get the city code changed this fall.

“We’re not looking for huge factory farm operations in backyards, just people like us who are raising them as pets and eating the eggs and leaving it at that,” said Jeremy Arndt.

A council meeting on Monday is expected to include an announcement regarding a public hearing on the issue for August 18th; at that meeting, the Arndt’s say they plan to present the petition to the council.


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