Woman Defends Her Chickens
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 5, 2006
FAIRFIELD, OHIO--Judging from the news coming out of Fairfield lately, one would get the impression that the hot-button issue in this town is not immigration reform, the war in Iraq, or the high price of oil.
No, it's poultry.
More specifically, it's Joyce Branham's chickens.
Branham, who has diabetes and has experienced two bouts with cancer, says taking care of her five domesticated chickens is therapy for her acute and chronic anxiety. Her doctor says so, too.
But some neighbors complained that the fowl are noisy and cause their property values to drop. Two of those neighbors got at least 100 other Fairfield residents to sign a petition asking the city to ban "farm-type" animals in residential areas.
The Fairfield City Council passed the ordinance in late April, and gave Branham 30 days to get rid of her chickens.
Branham has told neighbors, reporters, and the council that she is not giving up without a fight.
"They're my babies. No one's taking them from me," she said after the council voted to evict the animals. "They're my life . . . that's the only life I have."
On May 25, the day after the new ordinance took effect, Branham filed a discrimination complaint with the state's Human Rights Commission. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, she is asking to be allowed to keep the birds as a reasonable accommodation under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The commission should finish its investigation within the next month.
"Pet Chickens Ruffle Feathers In Fairfield Neighborhood" (WLWT-TV)
"Chickens Evicted From Fairfield Woman's Home" (WLWT-TV)
"Fairfield Woman Not Done Fighting For Chickens" (WLWT-TV)
"Chicken owner files complaint" (Cincinnati Enquirer)