Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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October 23rd, 2014

Claiming Foul Over the Fowl

In a time when members of the Village of Liberty board should be concentrating on such things as delivering municipal services, public safety, economic development, and maintaining taxes at an affordable level, they have found themselves sidelined in what has become a huge chicken controversy.

Front and center is the issue as to whether property owners can be allowed to have chickens on land they own in the Village of Liberty.

Although many law abiding homeowners have owned chickens for years, Code Enforcement Officer Pam Winters is claiming foul over the fowl.

Winters (unless she is being made the scapegoat) decided to enforce several village ordinances after receiving complaints stemming from several people not happy with their neighbors smelly pets and source for eggs.

Letters were sent out by Winters demanding that the fowl be removed from properties and if they were not there would be fines along with court appearances.

Those receiving letters are enraged and claim their freedoms have been violated.

Thus the “Chickengate” saga begins in the Village of Liberty.

Front and center in this controversy is Joey Galli a 13 year old special needs child who has chickens as pets. Studies have proven that chickens are therapeutic for special needs and autistic children.

In a small town in Indiana there is a similar controversy involving a 10 year old autistic child who has four chickens as pets. The family received a similar letter stating that if the chickens were not removed they could face a fine of $2,500. The story has received a great deal of media attention along with an online petition drive with over 39,000 signatures.

Joey decided to take his plea to keep his chickens to residents in the Village of Liberty and obtained over 250 signatures demanding that he and other families be able to keep their chickens on property they own.
Last week’s Village of Liberty board meeting was packed with people voicing their opinions on Chickengate.

Those voicing their objections to the chickens argued that they smell, are dirty, and make noise. But, those in favor of the chickens outnumbered those opposed to them.

People argued that there were more important issues facing the village such as high taxes and not chickens.

Many of those in attendance threatened Village Board members with turning the chicken controversy into a political issue in the upcoming March’s Village elections. They also argued there should be a referendum on the ballot as to whether people should be allowed to own chickens.

This year the Mayor along with two Board of Trustee seats are up for grabs.

Although Winters is within her rights to enforce the codes of the Village to her interpretation, the village board hires and fires. They can also assist in modifying the ordinances.

What is needed here is compromise.

People should be permitted to have chickens on their property under certain guidelines and be within a certain number of feet from their neighbor’s property. Everyone deserves a quality of life and to live in their homes as they see fit.

I urge the Village of Liberty Board to immediately deal with this issue and work to resolve this situation to everyone’s benefit.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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