Next Door to Livestock — Another Neighbor’s Reaction


Sundari Kraft is the most visible proponent of the proposed “Food Producing Animals” ordinance which would drastically reduce the limitations on backyard chickens, ducks, and goats.  Earlier I reported that one of her neighbors, Roseanne Jelacic, has written to City Council objecting to the ordinance based on her own experience with Sundari as a neighbor.  Now, it turns out, another of Sundari’s neighbors, Lynn Herwick, has done the same thing some days ago.  She sent me a copy of her letter to the City Council and gave permission for me to reprint it here, which I have done below.

I’m reprinting it because (a) the letter was sent to all the members of City Council and (b) it illustrates the kinds of problems which may be common if the ordinance passes.  In itself, the objections this letter raises aren’t that serious and wouldn’t warrant a blog post.  “Harrassment of wildlife” is actually what the Colorado Division of Wildlife recommends to deal with predators — though backyard livestock certainly exacerbate the problem, and we will doubtless be seeing more of these critters if this ordinance passes.  There are worse things than dumping animal waste in the dumpster without bagging, although it seems to have caused problems in this case, and could really be a problem in hot weather.

The point is, though, that you can multiply this letter by many times if this ordinance passes.  Most backyard chicken, duck, and goat enthusiasts will be even less informed than Sundari Kraft, and what can we expect from them?

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I am writing in response to Denver considering the change of the law for Urban Backyard Farms.  My concerns and issue on this matter is the following:

The harassment of wildlife (foxes) in our area that have coexisted with us for years are now being chased from our neighborhoods from the people who own chickens and goats. Point in fact on Sunday April 10th my neighbor Sundari Kraft and her husband were chasing a fox down our street away from their yard.  To me that is wildlife harassment and as these animals are only doing what comes naturally to them in searching for food for survival.

My other concern is the smell and attraction of flies due to the bedding and poop smells of these animals.  Our neighbor who says she is a good urban farmer should abide by the rules of the dumpsters. Her and her husband will dump the waste from their backyard directly into the dumpster. Denver Waste management asks that all waste be put into bags before dumping.  If they were using their own dumpster maybe it wouldn’t irritate me so much but the fact is they use the dumpster at my end of the alley. So I get to deal with the flies and smells and you know that smell does not go away after the city has taken the trash.

Has Denver given any thoughts how these new Urban Farmers are going to get rid of their animals’ poop and bedding that they use? I love the way on the Urban Farm Website how “The  poop of a chicken is the very best natural fertilizer you can use on your lawn or in your garden.” Is very misleading since chicken poop is one of the hottest fertilizer (has too much nitrogen and will burn your yard or garden) means you have to wait to apply it your yard or gardens.  Where will these Urban Farmers store all of this chicken poop for up to  two months at least if they are able to spread it out. Otherwise it could take up to a year or longer to cure in a pile.

Last my biggest concern is not  everyone will be a good Urban Farmer and neighbors should have a say if they want a urban farm next door to them or not to deal with the smell and flies.  Please do not relax the rules for food producing animals those rules keeps us all good stewards for the land and city of Denver.


Lynn Herwick