Pet Chickens Ignite Culture Clash

July 14, 2007

In some parts of Prince William County, it may not seem like farm animals are illegal.

Zoning regulations ban farm areas from most residential areas, but in the past year, pet chickens have been appearing in backyards all over the county.

Inspectors recorded as many as 32 chicken violations, up from only three in 2004.

Officials and irate homeowners say that most of the time, the fowl running around their neighborhoods are kept by Hispanic immigrant families as pets.

The live poultry has further fueled the culture clash between homeowners who have been involved in skirmishes over things like illegal construction, day laborers, and other "quality-of-life" issues with a growing immigrant population. The board of supervisors just passed an anti-illegal immigration resolution.

People like Virginia Paris and her family are changing their feelings about the area. Paris now has a "for sale" sign on her lawn after an unruly cock ran around her pool party crowing last month.

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