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Backyard chickens soon could be easier to own in Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS - For the last 6 years, Rob Czernik has cared for and cared about a flock of chickens in his Minneapolis backyard.

(Credit: KARE 11)

MINNEAPOLIS - For the last 6 years, Rob Czernik has cared for and cared about a flock of chickens in his Minneapolis backyard.

"I have 8 chickens and I got 5 eggs today in February, which is really cool," Czernik said.

But to get a permit from the city to keep backyard chickens, Rob first needed written consent from 80 percent of his neighbors within 100 feet.

"Which wasn't a problem, but i could see for a lot of people, it being a problem," Czernik said.

"They just go and get a chicken anyway and nobody's the wiser," said Minneapolis council member Andrew Johnson.

Johnson believes a lot of backyard chicken owners in Minneapolis don't have permits.

"That's what happens when you have laws that are difficult to follow is that people circumvent them," Johnson said.

So he's authoring sweeping changes to the city's animal care and control ordinances that will - in part - eliminate that requirement for signatures.

And over at the animal shelter -- the legislation includes a new initiative to drastically reduce the number of cats and dogs that are euthanized by forging stronger partnerships with other shelters in the area.

"This is moving us as close as you can get to what a lot of animal rights activists would dub a "no kill shelter," Johnson said.

A city council committee will vote on the legislation Monday. If approved, the full council will vote later this month.