Clarabelle, Minnie, Mary and Alice may be out of a roost for the second time in five months if Sacramento County gets its way.
The four ladies are in fact chickens- two Light Brahmas and two Rhode Island Reds-whose owner lost her home to foreclosure last summer and moved into a rented house with their owners.
Margo Powers and her husband, Michael, lost their 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom Rosemont home through foreclosure four months ago and moved into a Powers moved into the two-story home in September. Of course the chickens, raised by the Powers’ children since they were fluffy day-old chicks, came moved with them.
But now they have received a notice from Sacramento County saying the chickens need to be removed within the month, according to the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento County allows chickens on parcels greater than 10,000 square feet, which is almost twice the size of Powers’ rental property along Mira del Rio Drive.
“It was never my intention to stir up the neighborhood,” Powers told the Bee. “I just have four little chickens that give us fresh eggs every morning.”
The couple opened a restaurant just as the economy slid into its steep decline.
“I would spread the bills around and say, ‘Who can close our doors tomorrow?’ And we’d pay that bill first,” Margo Powers said.
Fairly quickly, the couple were forced to make a choice: the restaurant or the house.
“We made the tough decision to stop paying on the house,” Powers said. “If we had kept the house and lost the restaurant, where would we work?”
Their bank would not grant a loan modification, Powers said, because their business was losing money. And when the restaurant started operating in the black, it was too late.
At first, all was well at the new location until a neighbor reported the chickens to the county’s nuisance line last month, said county spokeswoman Annie Parker. The chickens have to be removed within 15 business days from when the county sent a warning letter, and code enforcement officers will check to make sure Powers complies after Jan. 18.
An option to appeal the violation would cost $500 and bring the issue before the county’s Board of Supervisors, said Supervisor Don Nottoli, in whose district Powers lives.
The current chicken laws “have worked over time, but maybe this is the time to revisit this,” Nottoli said.