People living within the city limits of Union may soon be able to keep ducks as pets.
The Union City Council took a step toward making this possible at a work session Monday night. The council asked City Administrator Doug Wiggins to draft an amendment to the city’s animal ordinance that would allow residents to keep ducks and many other fowl as pets.
Presently the only fowl residents within the city limits may have are chickens. The proposed amendment would allow residents to keep all fowl as pets except peacocks, guinea fowl and geese.
Wiggins said that peacocks and guinea fowl would be excluded because of the annoying noises they make, and geese due to their cantankerous nature.
“Geese are mean. They will bite (people),” Wiggins said.
The city began looking into allowing fowl in addition to chickens to be kept as pets after it received at least one call from someone asking if they could keep ducks as pets.
The proposed ordinance amendment would limit people to a ratio of 24 fowl per 10,000 square feet of open land. For example, someone with 5,000 square feet would be limited to 12 fowl.
Only open space would count as square footage. The ground that someone’s house and garage sit on would not be considered open space.
The 24 fowl per 10,000 square feet limit is the same one now in place for chickens. Birds that recently hatched would probably immediately count as an additional animal, Wiggins said.
The proposed ordinance amendment would allow residents to keep fowl as pets only. They could not be raised for commercial purposes, Wiggins said.
A formal proposed amendment to Union’s animal ordinance will be presented to the Union County Council at a later meeting.
The city council also discussed other possible animal ordinance amendments including requiring all citizens to register their pets with the city. The consensus of the council was that this would not be a good idea because it would move the city in the direction of creating a myriad of additional rules for residents.
“We do not want to be like Portland,” said Councilor Susan Hawkins.
The possibility of developing an ordinance for people raising bees was also discussed was later put on hold.
Wiggins said the city periodically gets calls asking if it has rules regarding the raising of bees. He said people are told there are no bee ordinances but that people planning to raise bees are asked to notify their neighbors. The purpose is to alert people who are allergic to bees. Wiggins added that if a person’s bees begin causing problems, the city can address the issue under its nuisance ordinance.