Sunday, January 10, 2010

Can A Chicken Be A Pet? Broward Judge Says No

Can a chicken be a pet?  That's the question Broward Court Circuit Court Judge John Bowman adressed his past week, sitting in an appellate capacity.  The order discussed below and the related petition for certiorari in the case of Kohn v. City of Hollywood were emailed to me. 

From what I can tell, the City of Hollywood determined that the petitioner "did violate City of Hollywood Code Section 92.02 (A) by Failing to Cease the Keeping of Fowl or Poultry in the City Limits within the Residential Areas of the City." 

Since the city acted in a quasi-judicial capacity, the Circuit Court had jurisdiction to exercise certiorari review of the decision.  Unfortunately for the petitioner, the court agreed it had jurisdiction (even though certiorari was not the right avenue to get it there according to the court) but also agreed with the order under review.  According to the court, the petitioner's due process rights were not violated and stated:
While petitioner maintains that a "chicken" should be defined as "domestic animal" under  Section 92.02 (A), this is contrary to the ample evidence.
According to the court, a chicken cannot be a pet.  Should you doubt if I am serious, the case docket can be viewed HERE, the petition for certioari can be viewed HERE and the can be found HERE.


renee said...

According to Judge Bowman, Gallus gallus domesticus is NOT a domestic animal and there is AMPLE evidence to support this.

Several of the attorneys who have seen this ruling are rather curious.

How can Gallus domesticus can be classified as anything other than a domestic animal?

In addition to the irrefutible evidence of the nomenclature, farm animals, barnyard animals and pets are by very definition domestic animals as a domestic animal is any animal that can live among humans and depends upon humans for food and shelter.

Gallus domesticus has been living among humans for 10,000 years. This should be ample time to ascertain that chickens can safely dwell among humans as pets.

Judge John Bowman seems to have a history of ruling according to how he wishes the law was written rather than how the law actually reads.

See Florida 4Do7-3741.

It should also be noted that Judge Bowman served on the Exceutive Board of Children's Services Administration for Broward County during the time the Judge heard the original case.

According to the Bar rules in many States, this would represent a clear cut conflict of interest.

renee said...

Does it appear as though Judge Bowman understands that the Petitioner was challenging the most fundamental aspect of "due process" and that is in being charged with violating a statute that specifically permits the action?

renee said...

4th DCA ruled 5/24/2010 denying petitioner's motion to overturn Judge Bowman's ruling that chickens in Broward County, unlike those in the rest of the world, are not domestic animals. Thus, the ruling stands, and the is "ample evidence" that chickens in Broward County are non-domestic (aka wild) animals. As I'm sure you're aware, federal law requires one to obtain a special permit to remove wild land fowl from their nesting places, or otherwise disturb them. In an attempt to comply with Judge Bowman's order, the petitioner contacted the Southeast regional office of US Fish and Wildlife in Atlanta and attempted to obtain the necessary permit. The field officer laughed because "everyone knows that a chicken is a domestic animal! We can't issue a wildlife permit for a domestic animal, but if there's a court order saying the domestic animal is a wild animal that's therefore illegal to move without a permit..."

Can a municipality order a homeowner to commit a felony in order to comply with a municipal code enforcement ruling?

renee said...

If you look at City of Hollywood code violation #V09-09201, you'll see that Hollywood Hills resident Ken Synfelt was cited under 92.36 for improperly keeping his 40 pigeons (aka squab chickens), which are also poultry. My. Synfelt was not told that keeping poultry was prohibited in the City of Hollywood; only that he had to clean up their droppings, which, according to the citation, had seeped out of his yard and into the street.

Copies of this citation were included in the petition to the 4th DCA, so clearly, at least in Broward County, it is legal for a municipality to arbitrarily make up statutes for some people. In other words, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution does not apply in Broward County...but you probably knew that already.

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