Home > Elected Officials, Flagstaff, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance, Food, Libertarian, Nanny State, New Media, Northern Arizona, Police State, Politics > Locals Launch Referendum To Repeal City Animal Feeding Ordinance

Locals Launch Referendum To Repeal City Animal Feeding Ordinance

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Not long ago I was alerted to an issue in my chicken coop by the loud squawking of panicked birds. At first I thought it was the neighborhood cat causing trouble again but the chickens were far too upset for just a cat appearance. I grabbed a flashlight and went out into the darkness to investigate.

My chicken coop has a small window at the top and as I looked through I was surprised to see my light illuminate a large skunk happily eating eggs. The next day I found a hole in my fence where the skunk had come into the yard and hopefully fixed the problem so this doesn’t happen again. One thing I learned, chickens attract skunks.

The City of Flagstaff recently passed a wildlife feeding ordinance that could potentially impact urban chicken farmers like myself. Since I know that the eggs, feed and even the chickens themselves are attracting wildlife, I might receive a visit from Arizona Game and Fish one day telling me to fix the problem or face the consequences. If I keep my chickens after being warned that they are attracting wildlife, I face heavy fines and even jail time.

While City staff is working behind the scenes to ease the animal keeping part of the City Code to make it easier for people to raise chickens, the Flagstaff City Council is passing ordinances that could eventually sabotage these efforts. I don’t believe council intended the animal feeding ordinance to affect chicken farmers but that’s what it does and this flies in the face of the many Flagstaff residents who support urban chicken farming.

Councilmember Jeff Oravits deserves credit for working extremely hard to limit the unintended consequences of this ordinance and he was successful in fixing several major problems. He made sure people with fruit trees would be protected if fruit fell on the ground and attracted wild animals. He made sure people would not be fined or face jail time for feeding ducks at a pond. He looked for a variety of different scenarios that could come up unexpectedly in the future and worked to correct them.

Even with these protections in place, this ordinance is an unnecessary burden for the majority of Flagstaff residents and could impact any one of us under the right circumstances.

Residents Launch Referendum

Today the Arizona Daily Sun reported that a couple Flagstaff residents have officially launched a referendum and are in the process of collecting the 1,046 signatures needed to place this item on the November ballot. I endorse their efforts and will be volunteering my time to help collect signatures from qualified voters.

The City should not pass ordinances that affect all of Flagstaff just because a couple neighbors have a dispute. Passing broad far-reaching laws to address a narrow problem is never the right way to govern and this ordinance needs to be repealed. Let’s put this on the ballot and see what the voters have to say about it on election day.


Flagstaff made national news when they approved their Wildlife Feeding ordinance last week. This story from a Florida based newspaper talks about fines and jail time for people who feed wild animals in Flagstaff (click to enlarge).


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