While Arlington Heights has already made it clear that backyard chickens won't be allowed, officials had to clarify the prohibited animals code for the second time this year after residents requested to keep a peacock and a potbellied pig as pets.
The village board Monday unanimously approved a change to specify that it's not just chickens that aren't welcome in Arlington Heights, but other strange animals as well.
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"We made the change earlier this year and we thought the policy was clear, but within a week we got requests from two residents about a potbellied pig and a peacock," said Robin Ward, assistant village attorney.
Ward said both residents were told those animals were not allowed, but officials wanted to update the code to reflect that decision. Previously, the code banned "uncommon pets" but did not spell out specifically what animals were not allowed and gave a procedure for obtaining a variance.
In March, after receiving several requests from residents about backyard chickens, officials changed the code to prohibit chickens, geese, ducks and farm animals. During discussions about chickens in 2012 and 2013, village officials said they were concerned about the precedent it would set, among other issues.
The latest change approved on Monday adds "similar animals" and "similar fowl" to the language to show that the animals listed in the ordinance are not the only ones prohibited by the village.
The language now reads: "It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or raise any of the following animals or fowl in any residential district within the Village: pigs, cattle, horses, goats, sheep, or any other farm animals or similar animals, or any chickens, geese or ducks or similar fowl."
"I don't know how we can make it any more clear," Ward said.
She said the village didn't want to create an extensive list of what animals are and are not allowed because that would be tedious and create more problems. Officials hope the new language is broad but specific enough to address any resident's questions going forward.
"It just opens a Pandora's box," Village President Tom Hayes said. "We're trying to be consistent with our no-chicken policy. Once you start allowing exceptions, it gets more difficult."