SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Sioux Falls officials are studying possible changes in an ordinance that allows farm animals in the city limits, sparked by complaints that included one resident wanting to keep two goats and one family looking to raise more than 25 chickens.
The 60-year-old ordinance allows residents to keep animals as long as they aren't for commercial use and don't bother neighbors, Shawna Goldammer, the city's zoning enforcement manager, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
There isn't a specific limit on the number of chickens a person can keep, but residents cannot have more than four dogs or cats. Goldammer said she generally applies the four-animal rule to chickens and small farm animals to resolve complaints.
One resident, Wyatt Urlacher, said he has kept six chickens in his yard. He said raising chickens allows his family to be more self-sustaining, and he uses them to teach his 1-year-old son where food comes from.
"We believe it would be best to not only allow residents to keep chickens, but to allow them to decide how many are appropriate," Urlacher said. "It's a decision best left to citizens and their neighbors."
Sioux Falls resident Sarah Langenfeld agrees with Urlacher, saying it's not feasible for her to live on a farm.
"What works for us is keeping a small flock in the backyard," she said. "Their manure is valuable to a gardener, and chickens are good pest control, too."
Some residents believe they should be allowed to keep as many chickens that are appropriate to their lot size, as long as it's acceptable to neighbors. Dean Karsky, a city councilor, said that could cause hard feelings among residents.
"It's shouldn't be put on the neighbors to call and object," Karsky said.
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported that the study panel will include representatives from city departments and residents on both sides of the issue. A recommendation is expected by next summer.