Indianola Residents in Game of Chicken with City Council

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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.


  • Dan

    Does it pass the sniff test? Well some dogs yards you can bet smell worse. Noise? Nope I’d say dogs out do them on noise. Appearance? Who cares?…… Cats can’t lay eggs so that is a plus. Nothing like a rooster crowing in the morning.
    But you have to admit, where do you draw the line. Horses are pets too, that old milk cow is a pet.

  • Becky Seabrooke

    I understand if it smells or if they aren’t cared for BUT what is the harm if a family wants a couple chickens for fresh eggs??? Is this another way for us to he controlled???? I think its absurd! Let them have chickens and if certain people can’t care for them appropriately theb those people should be punished.

  • Krjbolej

    Keep the feathers !! And ducks are some of the sweetest, most devoted, and playful, animals alive.

  • citizen

    No one is addressing this point. They knew birds weren’t allowed in town, but they brought them in as pets anyway. The city is enforcing a rule that was already in place. The only change they are removing is that they will no longer offer exceptions to that rule. I think it’s a pretty poor lesson to teach children. We aren’t “supposed” to have them in town, but we want them, so we will do it anyway.

    • Jeremy Arndt

      As I have stated in a comment on another site, we were not aware of the ordinance at the time that we decided to keep our birds. We did not just do it in spite of the city. We are currently going through the avenues put in place by the city in order to request an ordinance change. That is our Constitutional right to address our government and ask for a change. Without this ability, we would be still living under a number of outdated laws, Prohibition for one. Again, if the council does not change the ordinance in our favor, we will comply with the new ordinance. Right now, the Council has allowed us to keep them until Sept. 16, and we are doing that within the Council’s ruling. Nice to see that people know exactly what we are teaching our kids based on one news story.

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