Easing Restrictions on Chicken Coops Raises Health Concerns

A rewrite of Montgomery County’s zoning code which would ease restrictions on backyard chicken coops has raised local health concerns. As reported by the Washington Post:

At a June 23 hearing, County Health Officer Ulder Tillman offered few objections. But in a letter last week to Council President Nancy Navarro, Tillman raised a series of new concerns, many involving salmonella.

She cited an August report from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  describing a multistate outbreak of human salmonella typhimurium infection linked to live poultry in backyard flocks. More than 300 people in 37 states were infected as of Aug. 15,  60 percent of them children 10 years old or younger. No deaths were reported, but 51 of those infected were hospitalized, according to the agency.

The new regulations would allow chicken coops as close as 15 feet from a lot line.  Current regulations require 25 feet.