Thursday, July 15, 2021

Pottstown's Only Chicken Ticket Flies the Coop

Katie Scanlan with some of her feathered friends.

Remember when Katie Scanlan was told she wasn't allowed to keep chickens in her backyard?

And remember when, she tried to convince borough council that there was a way it could be done without all of the problems they were worried about?

And remember when the response to that was for her to receive a citation in the mail, making her the only person to be cited for violating the so-called chicken ordinance in two years, the person who was trying to change the law.

The citation was dated February, she received it in March and the court date was not until Tuesday. Another example of Pottstown Justice moving at the speed of an egg rolling up hill.

And it would be great to say that she won in court because her cogent arguments about the benefits of backyard chickens convinced the local judge that the law was misguided;

Or that a righteous chicken rights lawyer showed up to champion her case;

The citation Scanlan received had her
name wrong, and was filed in the
wrong judge's court.

Or maybe that borough officials saw the error of their ways.

But, this being Pottstown, none of those things happened.

Instead, the whole thing was a boondoggle and the borough's case collapsed under the weight of its own inept execution.

According to Scanlan, the borough's goose was cooked and the case against her was thrown out for two reasons.

First, the borough got her name wrong. 

The citation lists Katie Eames, probably because that's the name on the property records, but she has been Katie Scanlan for the last seven years -- thus the citation was issued against someone who no longer lives in her chicken haven.

Second, the case was filed in the wrong judicial jurisdiction, she said. The case should have been filed in the court of Judge Palladino, but was instead filed with Judge Kropp.

Thus, the borough's singular enforcement of a ban that gets everyone's feathers ruffled, fell as flat as a school cafeteria chicken pattie.

That said, and perhaps no more should be said about it, there is more news in the soup of Pottstown's ever-simmering chicken stew.

During the July 7th work session, First Ward Councilman Ryan Procsal, who chairs council's ordinance review committee, mentioned in passing that a "consensus" had been reached on how to move forward with regulating backyard chickens.

He did not elaborate at the Monday voting meeting, so we asked him.

Pottstown had considered ordinance changes
which would have allowed backyard chickens on
larger lots in the borough, shown here in red.

Although not officially presented to council, or adopted, Procsal said Wednesday evening the consensus is to take up the suggestion of a "pilot program;" and to take up Pottstown Community Gardens Director Daniel Price on his suggestion that that program be located in one of the group's community gardens.

That suggestion was first made at the April 21 meeting of the committee at which members plucked their way through modifications to the existing "fam animal" ordinance.

The idea was to allow chickens, but only on larger lots, which had a hint of only allowing chickens for the wealthy.

Instead, allowing a pilot program in the community gardens in the most densely populated section of the borough would allow the most people the most access to having their own source of fresh eggs. 

"Hopefully, that will be satisfactory to both team chicken and team no-chickens," Procsal said wryly.

I feel like I should make a yoke here about how you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs, but the wording is just getting all scrambled in my fried brain.....


  1. If your animals are not a nuisance, and are kept humanely, it shouldn't matter whether its a dog,a duck or a donkey. If more government is the answer, the question is highly suspect.

  2. The problem isn't the animals it's the people.