Family in another Cabarrus County town urging rule change so they can keep chickens as pets

HARRISBURG, N.C. — The Hodges family and their chickens live in Harrisburg.

“I have two little girls, 12 and eight, and they’re super attached to them,” Tina Hodges told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

Hodges says they’re “attached” just like they’d be to a cat or dog.

“That’s what we have said all along, that they’re pets,” she said. “They all have a name. My girls pick them up, carry them around like a cat. We don’t sell the eggs. We’re not processing meat. We’re not going to hatch any eggs.”

The family has a half acre of land. But Harrisburg’s rule says you need at least two acres to keep livestock.

So, the town fined them. Hodges says more than $1,000 and counting.

“There is absolutely no hazard or nuisance that these chickens are posing,” she said. “We want to fight it, but we want to be in compliance.”

They’re trying to find another home for the animals, but also lobbying council members to change the rules. “We don’t want it just for us. We want it for anyone,” she said.

They’ve spoken to the council but town leaders have not asked staff to draft a rule change. At least not yet.

Stoogenke has also been reporting on a Concord family, the Celmers, fighting for new rules in that city as well.

They say their chickens have been great for their son with special needs. They thought the chickens were allowed until code enforcement cited them. They’ve been asking the city to change its policy and they’re getting close. The city’s considering a rule that would allow female chickens on single-family lots, five to 15 birds depending on the size of the property. You wouldn’t be able to kill the chickens inside the city limits or use them or their eggs for commercial use.

VIDEO: Family to advocate to keep chickens for child with special needs during city meeting

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