Round Lake resident Anastassia Strine outlined a few reasons she believes the Round Lake village board should let her family have chickens as pets in the Valley Lakes subdivision where they live.
"I find that dogs are requiring a lot of care," Strine told the village board during a nonvoting committee session Monday evening.
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Although Round Lake has an ordinance prohibiting the keeping of farm animals in an urban setting, elected officials agreed with a suggestion by Trustee Dawn Simoncelli to do a little more research about the concept of pet chickens before deciding whether to reject the request from Strine's family. Mayor Daniel MacGillis said he expects the chickens to be on the board's committee agenda Oct. 7.
Village Administrator Russell Kraly said he recommends against altering local law to let chickens live in residential neighborhoods. He told the village board that chickens are not clean animals, would need to stay outside in coops and shouldn't live with a family indoors.
"They're just not a house pet," Kraly said.
But Strine contended she's done her homework and finds that chickens would make fine pets. She added that one of her sons and her husband are allergic to cats.
Strine also told the elected officials that unlike dogs, chickens don't bite humans and tear off skin. She said her neighbors on Greenleaf Drive in Valley Lakes support the idea.
"You can be a great chicken owner or a worse chicken owner," said Strine, who was accompanied by her four young children and husband at Monday's meeting. "You can be a great dog owner or a worse dog owner."
Trustee Susan Triphahn said she's against farm animals in Round Lake because the village has a suburban atmosphere. She said the village would not have grounds to reject requests for other farm animals if officials tweak the law to allow chickens as pets.
"We're talking chickens, but then what about a rooster?" Triphahn said.
In August, the Arlington Heights village board 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 approved a change to specify it's not just backyard chickens that are unwelcome in Arlington Heights, but other animals such as pigs, cattle, horses, goats and sheep.
Other suburbs have rejected backyard chickens. Proponents typically cited better taste and increased nutrition from fresh eggs provided by hens, but Strine did not mention to the Round Lake village board that her fowl would be a food source.