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Westminster Says Family Has To Get Rid Of Their Chickens

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A Westminster family plans to do all they can to keep their backyard chickens. They say the birds are their pets, but the city says the hens have to go.

Jenny Spencer loves her chickens, and to her they’re more than just birds.

“To some people I know it may sound ridiculous, but they’re our family pets,” Spencer said. “They’re just as much like our dogs … they’re part of family.”

She says they’re clean, quiet and great companions. That’s why she couldn’t believe it when the city told her Monday that she has 14 days to get rid of her feathered friends.

“It breaks our hearts and our two boys are just heartbroken over it,” Spencer said.

“There’s an ordinance that exists that defines the chickens being livestock. So with her thinking that they are a pet, unfortunately the way the code is written, they are clearly defined as livestock and they’re not allowed in the city,” Westminster police spokesman Trevor Materasso said.

For Spencer this issue is about more than just pets. Her husband is chronically ill and uses the birds for therapy. He even sent a message to the city from the hospital in the form of a photo that says “Save My Chickens.”

Whatever happens, Spencer hopes she can educate the public that hens can do more than just lay eggs.

“It’s a good thing, it’s not a scary thing, it’s not anything to fear,” she said. “With enough voices we can make a change.”

The city investigated after someone complained.

If the Spencers don’t remove the chickens in 14 days they’ll be cited. Then they would have to try to convince a judge to let them keep the birds or try to get the city to change the law.

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