forgive any typos, i dictated it and it was typed with a beak

Hoquiam City Council
Hoquiam City Hall
609 8th Street
Hoquiam, WA 98550

Kelly Hogaboom
2323 Sumner Avenue
Hoquiam, WA 98550

May 15, 2009


I was saddened to read there is an ordinance discussed prohibiting domestic fowl for residences in Hoquiam, apparently based off a small number of residents who are keeping these birds irresponsibly.

Hoquiam has an opportunity to make its mark as a progressive community that promotes environmentally-sound pest control, food self sufficiency and security, a healthier food source, and a tighter-knit community.

In part this is a cultural issue: dogs and cats are allowed inside and outside our homes in this City, and that will never change. We tolerate the occasional (and sometimes upsetting) problems in communities regarding odors, noise, defecation, and disagreements between neighbors. We do not ban dogs and cats. I believe many of those who have an initial reaction against domestic fowl are not seeing the many benefits these birds bring us.

Our laying hens are happy birds who eat our garden scraps, live without pesticides and by-rote antibiotics, de-bug our vegetable beds, and enrich our lives both through eggs and their fascinating behavior. My husband has brought our chicks to my son’s preschool where the students could integrate the knowledge from books they’d been reading regarding eggs and reproduction, with real baby birds of their classmates’. Our birds have entertained many children of the neighborhood, and my children have learned how to help clean up, care for, and take responsibility for their food source in a more self-sustaining lifestyle. Any eggs our hens do not provide we purchase from the Grays Harbor Public Market.

A couple of weeks ago a neighbor of mine allowed her dogs loose and they twice got in my yard, badly savaging our birds (we now have a padlocked coop). I love my birds, just as I imagine my neighbor loves her dogs. After this incident – and after our vet visits – I walked over to my neighbor’s house and invited her and her children to visit our home to meet the birds. We discussed solutions to the problem at hand. The situation was a stressful one for both of us. However, in my view when there is a problem among neighbors this is the way things should be done; talking to one another first and brainstorming solutions before an official broad-brush ordinance or a legalistic solution is invoked. My neighbor has – thus far – kept her dogs from roaming. My birds are healing due to a lot of TLC and the wonderful assistance of Brady Veterinary Hospital.

Broad-stroke ordinances should not be put in place based on the misbehavior of a few irresponsible pet or fowl owners.

My family and I are saving to buy a home in Hoquiam and this proposed ordinance will make a big difference in our decision.

Kelly Hogaboom
Hoquiam, WA

Cc: The Daily World

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