The focus of one Connecticut judge was on my backyard chickens this week as he facilitated a settlement conference between me & Mr. Chicken Chick and the town of Suffield, which sued me for the removal of my chickens from my backyard. If you are not familiar with the history of this ridiculous saga, you can read about it here. The judge met with both sides and their attorneys separately. It was clear that the town had no intention of honoring the Zoning Enforcement Officer’s representation to us that we would be in compliance with the zoning code if we leased three acres adjacent to our backyard because he had no authority to make the offer in the first place. Classic governmental overreaching by a loose cannon in town hall, which typically goes unchecked- but not this time.
I knew that it would be significantly less expensive to purchase the leased acreage from property owner behind us than it would be to try this case to a judge. If I were Warren Buffett or Donald Trump, I would have tried the case, but being a practical person, I was prepared to offer the town one shot at settling this case short of trial: my demand of the town in exchange for bailing them out was a written apology from the Zoning Enforcement Officer stating that he was wrong to do what he did and that he is sorry for causing us significant inconvenience as a result. The town took the deal.
The ZEO, Jim Taylor, actually blurted out loud in court, “I’m not signing it!” at which point his attorneys took him back to the woodshed to put him on the repentance rack for a few stretches and back they came, the ZEO’s face noticeably redder and undoubtedly, his blood pressure significantly higher, when the judge took the bench to record the resolution of this inane case formally.
The town will withdraw the lawsuit, my chickens stay with all the rights that come with the Connecticut Right to Farm law and the Zoning Enforcement Officer will continue to seethe about this case indefinitely. Seems fair.
To recap: the town sued me to force me to remove my chickens from my property, ultimately agreeing to apologize for the inconvenience to me of their overreaching AND I keep my flock IN ADDITION TO any farm animal I wish. Sounds like a super smart use of town resources, don’t you think?
You will be seeing a flock of pink flamingos grow here at Blazing Trails Farm, which represent backyard chicken keeping solidarity! Stick one in your front yard as a message to your community too!
“Thank you” does not begin to express the level of my gratitude to my readers, followers, Facebook fans, peeps at large. Without your support, my options for pursuing this in the manner I felt was right would have been limited. The primary limitation flock keepers face when fighting to keep their chickens (besides scads of ignorant governmental officials) is money. Unfortunately, money makes the judicial wheel turn and without it, individuals possess unequal power to fight local governments when they are wrong. I appreciate having been empowered by you financially and supported morally every inch of the way. ♥
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