Terra Haute Officials Force Family To Give Up Pet Chickens

I must confess that I never bothered to even look and see if our city has an ordinance against having hens before getting our girls a few weeks ago…I honestly don’t care what officials have to say about it; they have no right to dictate what I do in my yard s’long as I am not bothering or harming anyone… and should a problem arise, I will fight to keep my hens…and my personal freedom. 


My happy girls, Radley & Boo taking a break on my lap…

(WTHI) – “When you think of family pets, usually a dog or cat comes to mind, but for one Terre Haute family they say their life isn’t complete without the family hens. The only problem is their pets are a violation of city code.

It’s the kind of after school activity you see on a farm, collecting the eggs from the hen house.

“The prices (of eggs) in the store are almost two dollars a dozen with the exception of the holiday,” Kevin Levesque of Terre Haute said.

But the hen house we encountered is located on a backyard farm. Kevin Levesque’s in the city of Terre Haute.

“That was the baseline for it pretty much for more eggs and to teach the kids a little more than just a dog and a cat,” Levesque said.

But a few weeks ago the Levesques were told their hen house pets are a violation of city code; for having farm animals in a residential zone.

“If you look up the definition of farm animal at USLAW.org it doesn’t include chickens,” Kevin said.” Full Story Here

Excerpt from the Change.org Petition to help the Levesque’s in the fight for food freedom:

“For two years, Various city officials would tell people that as long as no neighbors complained, there was no ordinance against it. Now in 2013, we are suddenly being told that there are such ordinances disallowing chickens and that after 2 years we must now find another place for them. Meaning we must get rid of our family pets that our children have raised from 2 days old and grown to love.

We want the government to realize that chickens are important many citizens of Terre Haute. Major cities across the United States are coming to realize that chickens bring a Green initiative to their cities. Raising local chickens increase food awareness, reduce transportation cost, and supply the community with a level of sustainability. One example of this would be during emergency situations where government assistance can focus on other pressing issues as was the case in 2005 with the massive flooding that decimated so much farm land along the Wabash River and dislodged so many local citizens.

Chickens aren’t farm animals they are beautiful and entertaining pets that provide many benefits. Homegrown eggs are without hormones or chemicals, are higher in nutrients, lower in cholesterol, and taste 10 times better that store-bought. Chickens will eat anything that moves, meaning they eat ticks (that carry lyme disease), fleas, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stink bugs, slugs, and even mice, baby rats, and small snakes. Chickens are fun, loving, and really should be considered domestic pets…”

Read More & Sign The Petition

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15 comments on “Terra Haute Officials Force Family To Give Up Pet Chickens

  1. Bureaucrats and officials love power and often mis-use it. Chickens have feelings too dammmit – and should have rights- like any other living creature-


    • The photo with my hens on my leg was taken only yesterday…I sit down, they run over to cuddle and nap on my lap…nicer than some cats I’ve lived with lol. The idea that some anonymous council could throw out an arbitrary mandate forbidding us from having hens in our yards infuriates me!!


  2. Suzie says:

    I’ve seen similar stories and as long as they’re not hurting anyone (which they’re not, they’re chickens) and penned up, people should be able to have them wherever they want. Some laws/codes/violations are just plain stupid and should be taken off the books. Someone obviously has too much time on their hands to be “investigating” people that violate such codes. Ugh!


    • They only time I could see chickens being a problem is if someone doesn’t clean the coop regularly…but uh…people don’t always clean up after dogs either so it should be dealt with case-by-case and not with some stupid, blanket ordinance that punishes everyone. I feel bad for the poor kids of this family; I raised my 1st chicks when I was 8 or 9 and I’d have gone ballistic had some jerk come along and taken my babies away from me!! I’ll expand your “Ugh” all the way out to… FrickinfrackinfruckinRAWR!!!! >.<


  3. Arina says:

    This is totally ridiculous. Just shows you what the government / industry will do to keep a profit.


  4. TY for sharing our story. Its good to see people recognizing our rights are being systematically infringed upon. We miss our girls terribly but they now have a new home after facing 900-2700 dollars in fines PER DAY for having 9 chickens. Our fight isnt over by a long shot. We are working to change this ordinance so other families are not hurt like we were over something our WHOLE neighborhood enjoyed. We live across from an elementary school and our girls were local entertainment and education for many in our little community.


    • My heart just broke when I read what had happened to you guys. I got to raise hens as a kid, too and I would have been devastated had they been taken away from us. If there is ANYTHING at all I can do to be of help to ya’ll, please drop me a line at misbehavedwoman@gmail.com and let me know…updates, images, online sharing or just promoting like mad so more people are aware of what’s happened…say the word and I will do the best I can to lend a hand. Many, many thanks and kudos for carrying on the fight the way you are.


      • TY so much for your kind words. You can keep track of things as well at our FB page https://www.facebook.com/simpertimeshomestead
        If nothing else our children are learning another life lesson regarding politics. Oddly enough the code they site us on allows the keeping of feral dogs and feral cats as companion animals as opposed to chickens. How ridiculous is that.

        We are looking for other city ordinances that ALLOW chickens specifically. Any and all links specifically to codes and zoning would be greatly appreciated.


        • Liked/share your FB page as “me” and as MisBehaved both. Shared the petition again, too. I’m not an expert by any means but I can’t for the life of me figure out how chickens could ever be considered more of a pest or nuisance than feral cats..?! Insanity, pure and simple.
          I will search for ordinances and drop any links I find on your page; will also put the word out online and ask around to see what I might be able to shake loose.


  5. Angela says:

    Below is the link of the petition. Please spread this around. We don’t care if they are from Terre Haute the more signatures the more the city council will pay attention. Flood their inbox. Thanks. https://www.change.org/petitions/amend-the-ordinance-sec-6-69-n-and-sec-10-240-b-3-define-farm-animals-exclude-chickens


  6. […] week, I shared a story about the Levesque family in Terra Haute, Indiana who were forced to give up their pet chickens after the city abruptly decided that chickens are […]


  7. Sadly follow up on this issue died through bureaucratic BS. No city counselor sponsoring City legal stopped working on an Urban Agriculture ordinance.. which TBH terrified me more then just addressing chickens. We have opted to chicken share with a friend in the country and again have 22 chickens and a rooster doing great. We have however now adopted Rabbits and they are allowed. Our next step is moving to our homestead in a rural community and getting the critters we want. TY all for support and assistance trying to make change. Unfortunately we have an old power mad city counsel that refuses to meet its residents needs.


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