Family at odds with neighbors over pet chickens

The neighborhood association says the family?s chickens and their $13,000 coop violate local rules about barnyard pets.
April 18, 2014 9:55:59 PM PDT
What began with the best of intentions has turned into a stubborn fight between a home owner with chickens and a Marin County neighborhood association with rules against them.

In Kent Woodlands, Andy Matthews, his wife Tracy and their 9-year-old daughter Raine have a problem. The neighborhood association says the family's chickens and their $13,000 coop violate local rules about having barnyard pets.

"We have some people with very strong feelings about not having chickens," Barry Evergettis said.

But the family says they haven't broken any rules.

"If the CCR's said no chickens, no problem," Andy Matthews said. "But they allowed caged birds. That is a cage and these are birds."

Initially, the family got chickens to teach Raine about sustainability. They grow much of what they eat in the backyard.

"Really, I want her to take responsibility for things; learn to respect nature," Tracy Matthews said.

But what began as a lesson in sustainability has now molted into something else entirely.

"Well, now the lesson for my daughter is if she believes in something, she should stand up for it," Andy Matthews said.

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