“It’s time for the chickens to fly their backyard coop in residential Campbellford.
After months of dealing with the Bacher family and the seven hens they keep in their Doxsee Avenue backyard, the municipality is taking them to court for a zoning violation. If successful, the charge comes with a maximum fine of $25,000 — that’s a lot of eggs.
But not enough to make the Bachers give up their hens. They’re fighting the charge with the pro bono services of Belleville lawyer Karen Selick — the same woman who represented Michael Schmidt, an Ontario dairy farmer convicted last fall for offences relating to selling raw milk.
The Bachers have had their hens for two years, acquiring them to show their daughter where food comes from and then keeping them for their eggs. They said they checked with the municipality first on prohibited animals, but likely left with a copy of the exotic animals bylaw, according to Jim Peter, Trent Hill’s director of planning.
If that’s the case, it’s unfortunate they didn’t receive, or perhaps request, the proper information. But that doesn’t change the rules or the fact the municipality acted because of a complaint received last summer. I feel for the Bachers, I really do. My deep rural roots are still trying to smash through the concrete of my residential property. I grew up in Orono. I lived on a horse farm, which also played host to goats, cows, rabbits and, occasionally, chickens. I worked on a fruit farm and on top of all that, my grandparents are Italian and backyard farming has been a constant in my memory….”