Family says city wants to take their chickens, are in violation of city ordinance

ODESSA, Mo. - An Odessa, Mo., family wants to raise chickens to lay farm-fresh eggs even though they live inside city limits. However, their chickens could soon be kicked out of town.

Christa Casebeer said she and her husband Erik did their homework and checked with the city of Odessa in April.

"They told us there was no ordinance against having chickens in Odessa city limits so we set up the shed, put up the fence and brought the birds home," Christa said.

She was surprised to later receive a very different message.

"Early June, we got a letter from the city stating that we were harboring livestock and in violation of a city ordinance code, which was kind of a surprise to us," she said.

On Saturday, the Casebeers received another letter giving them 15 days to get rid of the birds or they would be removed. Christa said she filed an appeal to the board of adjustment and believed the chickens were safe until that decision was made.

Christa said a city ordinance listing banning livestock does not include chickens.

City Planning and Economic Development director Will Osborne said in the list of animals, it all comes down to five words: "including but not limited to."

While chickens are not specifically mentioned, Osborne said the city considers them livestock and they are not allowed.

Osborne said Odessa Planning and Zoning will take another look at the ordinance on Thursday.

At the Kansas City Pet Project, Tori Fugate said many cities allow chickens, but owners must follow strict guidelines. She said ordinance violations are a common reason the animals are seized. In the past year, she said the shelter has taken in over 100 chickens.

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