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Speakers Challenge BOC on Finances, Chickens

Two Cobb citizens came before the Board of Commissioners to plead for their causes.

An otherwise routine of the was colored by the appearance of two public speakers coming before the board pleading for the right to own chickens and to rail against money in politics.

Joseph Pond, founder of the Backyard Chickens Alliance of Cobb County, once again stressed his recommendation that the board .

With the current code, chickens and ducks can only be kept on properties exceeding two acres in size. Pond said that if the code was amended, neighborhoods with HOAs would be able to restrict chicken keeping.

Pond lost his job two weeks ago and his chickens in the fall of 2011. He is now not able to acquire organic eggs to feed his family. He also mentioned the Georgia Right to Grow Act, which would have alleviated the problem but was killed in the state House of Representatives' Rules Committee and by Rep. John Meadows.

Craig Harfoot came to the podium to address his belief that money and politics should be separated. He began with criticisms of Commission Chairman Tim Lee, who to keep his seat. Harfoot said that with $450,000 in campaign donations, Lee owed favors to his donors that the taxpayers would end up providing.

"We're used to seeing big money compete for tax dollars on the national stage," Harfoot said. "But seeing it on the local level is really frightening."

Lee's support of a HOST tax, in face of the , was considered an outrage by Harfoot, who said that the rise in energy costs was already a tax on food.

Harfoot was also surprised that although , that he managed to win the runoff and keep his job.

"If you didn't have so much debt to your donors, a lot of us would feel better," he said.

Joseph Pond August 29, 2012 at 09:23 PM
John, This is an e-mail from Animal Control: "We have no county ordinance pertaining to pet limits. However one must be able to provide adequate care for all pets. All cities within the county do have pet limits. Don Bruce | Operations Manager Cobb County Animal Control" Where do you derive the conclusion that fresh eggs can be more of a health problem than store bought eggs? According to the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project: Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain: • 1⁄3 less cholesterol• 1⁄4 less saturated fat• 2⁄3 more vitamin A• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids• 3 times more vitamin E• 7 times more beta carotene
John Himot August 29, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Joseph I come from a large farm family so dont try and give me all of this talk from Mother Earth News and such. I have friends at the CDC who know about these things and have given me advice not to raise my own eggs . As for my dogs I rec. a court order and I removed those animals to other homes , ask your bud Don Bruce about how that happend a few years back. I kept them at a rental house which I had friends living in at the time. They where dog people and I knew how the city was about how many dogs you could have. I sure do miss them when it comes hunting season. But I do follow court orders and they did find good homes. Still have 3 good dogs 2 for hunting and 1 for just the fun of having him as a friend. He never could hunt well .
Joseph Pond August 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Is that the same CDC that issued the How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse? "The 2010 CDC report estimated that one in 20,000 eggs is internally contaminated. A healthy-looking hen might be infected with Salmonella, and may lay an occasional SE-contaminated egg while the rest are safe for human consumption. This is true for both factory-farm and backyard chickens. However, the probable risk of infection is extremely small." "Humans can become infected with the pathogen after eating foods that come in direct or indirect contact with animal feces, according to a July 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. A common problem used to be that chicken feces on the outside of a shell would contaminate the egg once the egg was cracked. But now, according to the CDC report, Salmonella illnesses from factory farm egg shells are less frequent, since industry standards for cleaning and inspecting became more rigid in the 1970s." If you are more comfortable eating eggs that are 30 to 60 days old, that is your business. If you would rather listen to hearsay than read documented scientific studies, that is your business as well. You said that the 'city' had an issue with the dogs. I am talking about the County. Even the Animal Control Operations Manager said that the Cities have limits on pets. Cobb County Animal Control takes care of some of the cities as well as their own areas.
Pam J August 29, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I guess you have to take all kinds of homes in the county into consideration when making the laws. I lived in a cluster home community in Austell where the houses were real close and we had 6' privacy fencing around each yard. There was an Hispanic family living next door to me for awhile and they had chickens in their backyard. And one rooster that liked to crow starting at 4:00 am. I called the county about it, the homeowner's association tried to do something about it, but the chickens did not leave until the family left. And I will tell you that the smell was kind of bad, probably because they didn't clean the coops very often. At any rate, the law should read that you need to have at least one acre of land before you are allowed to have chickens.
Joseph Pond August 29, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Why did you call the County if you live in Austell? That could have been part of the issue with the chickens still being there. The law in Austell is tougher than the law in Cobb County. How did you determine that it should be 1 acre? The majority of the properties in Cobb are 1/2 acre or less. The city of Atlanta allows up to twenty five chickens on any size property, and they are doing fine. Responsible pet ownership, and proper law enforcement are essential.

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