Resident Asks City to Consider Allowing Chickens Within City Limits

Resident Asks City to Consider Allowing Chickens Within City Limits

Rock Springs resident Mackenzie Bertagnolli pleaded her case on why chickens should be allowed within city limits. She held up a photo of one her chickens. SweetwaterNOW photo by Stephanie Thompson

ROCK SPRINGS — The issue of whether or not the City of Rock Springs should allow chickens within city limits has once again resurfaced.

During the Rock Springs City Council meeting tonight, Rock Springs resident Mackenzie Bertagnolli pleaded her case on why chickens should be allowed within city limits.

Bertagnolli said she had bought chickens about 2 years ago from someone in Green River assuming that since they were allowed in Green River, Rock Springs allowed them as well. She was incorrect in that assumption.

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“I got these chickens during the pandemic,” Bertagnolli said.

She said not only are the eggs they produce a source of food for her family, but they are like cats and dogs to her.

“They are my pets,” she said.

She said one of the chickens she purchased requires her to donate all of the eggs to the food kitchen, which she has faithfully done.

Today, Rock Springs Animal Control officers arrived at her house and told her that chickens are not allowed within city limits per a city ordinance.

“It was devastating to me…” Bertagnolli said.

Bertagnolli said she believes a neighbor called in a complaint because she recently reported the neighbor to animal control for not taking care of their dog.

She asked the Council what steps she needed to take to change the ordinance to allow for chickens.

Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo said to change an ordinance it must go through public hearings and be read three times. He said this issue was already “hashed out” by both sides of the issue in the past. He said Councilors, specifically in her ward, would need to bring the issue forward.

City Attorney Richard Beckwith said when the issue came before the Council previously, a lot of research was done and presented on both sides.

After all was reviewed, the Council decided not to allow them.

Councilor Keaton West, who is in Bertagnolli’s ward, said not everyone takes care of their chickens the way Bertagnolli does, just like not everyone takes care of their dogs the same way. He said this issue has been defeated multiple times because of opposition and he’s not in favor of revisiting the issue.

Councilor Brent Bettolo, who is also Bertagnolli’s ward representative, said he’s sympathetic and asked if she had a place out north of town she could take them. However, he also agreed that the issue had been hashed out.

Bertagnolli said she is planning on taking them to a relative’s house to watch them because she doesn’t want animal control to take them away.

Councilor Tim Robinson suggested Bertagnolli review all of the Council minutes from the last time the ordinance was reviewed and look for “new evidence.” He said it would have to be something not considered before that isn’t subjective.

The Council believes the last time this issue came before it was back in 2013. Mayor Kaumo said he would provide her with better dates so she can look at those minutes. The Council also used this as an opportunity to encourage residents to check ordinances before buying animals.

Other Business

The Council voted unanimously to pay $20,000 to Fireworks West Internationale, Inc. for a Fourth of July fireworks show. Last year, the Rock Springs City Council decided not to approve spending $20,000 to pay for the fireworks show. However, the City of Rock Springs still had a fantastic display after businesses and community members raised funds to have one.

A public hearing for an application to transfer a Retail Liquor License by Pour You, LLC, doing business as The Pour House, located at 1521 9th Street in Rock Springs, took place. The Council approved the request and the license will be transferred to Pour Your LLC. The license was owned by Ha, Inc., and operated under the trade name of The Pour House.

The Council approved a Rock Springs Fire Department request to apply for a 2022 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant in the amount of $2,485,437.21. The grant will pay wages and benefits for nine new firefighters for a period of three years.

The Council also approved a $10,000 Enforcing Underage Drinking Prevention Contract from the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police.