Chickens will not be coming to a backyard near you.

Reynoldsburg City Council on Jan. 27 unanimously approved the last of its revisions to the city's code on animals and fowl but did not take up the issue of keeping backyard chickens.

Council, and its public-safety, law and courts committee, have been discussing changes to the city's animal code since June, voting on changes in a "piecemeal" fashion.

Many of the revisions voted into effect first were recommended by an ad hoc committee in 2014.

Among that committee's recommendations were to strike restrictions on certain "vicious" dog breeds, like pit bulls, which Reynoldsburg did in 2018.

The committee in 2014 also recommended chickens be added to city code as permitted animals, said councilwoman Kristin Bryant, chairwoman of council's public-safety, law and courts committee.

"However, at this point, we don't really have the ability to enforce the code that would surround this," Bryant said. "There is no room in the budget to support an animal-control officer. Our code-enforcement officers are better suited on spending their time on other matters. We lack the resources that we would need to have in place to have chickens in Reynoldsburg."

Council is not expected to debate the merits of allowing residents to keep backyard chickens, although Bryant said she was open to revisiting the issue if "enough members of the community believe that this is something we should have."

Delaware, Gahanna and Powell are among the central Ohio suburbs that prohibit backyard chickens; however, a state law could override local restrictions.

Ohio House Bill 124, introduced last year, would prevent local governments from banning small livestock like chickens, goats and rabbits.

Under the proposed bill, residential property owners would be able to keep up to 20 chickens per acre.

Most of the changes approved by council cleaned up redundant or confusing language and made rules on wild or exotic animals consistent with Ohio law.

Other updates included clarifying leash and tethering laws and increasing penalties for repeat offenders who allow animals to run at large or create nuisance conditions.

In the fall, council voted to require homeowners who install an underground or "electric" fence systems to prevent dogs from being closer than 10 feet from the sidewalk or property line and to obtain permits for the fence installation, similar to those needed for installing traditional fences. Existing fence systems are "grandfathered" in.

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