Truesdale aldermen get first look at new chicken ordinance

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 8/21/23

The Truesdale board of aldermen discussed a draft of a new ordinance that would allow residents of the Missouri city to house chickens at their residences.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Truesdale aldermen get first look at new chicken ordinance


Truesdale aldermen had their first discussion on a draft ordinance that would allow residents in the city to own their own chickens during the Aug. 9 meeting.

The draft was introduced by City Attorney Katie Joyce and sparked a debate that lasted more than 20 minutes.

The draft ordinance would allow residents to keep up to six female chickens on their property. No roosters would be allowed should aldermen approve the ordinance at a future meeting.

The ordinance also states that chickens would need be kept in a fenced-in area “sufficient to prevent them from running at large” and for there to be “appropriate housing in the form of a coop that is well-maintained and absent of any rotting boards, peeling paint, or missing roof material.”

The draft ordinance alo states that residents would need to apply for a permit in order to keep chickens, and that chickens would not be allowed in any neighborhoods or subdivisions with covenants that currently prohibit chickens.

Discussion between city officials focused on the permit.

“Are we looking to have a yearly or so many years or anything like that or just a one time permit fee?” asked City Clerk Elsa Smith-Fernandez.

“If you’re wanting to include anything with the permit processing in regards to the condition of the coop, I think that I would definitely suggest a year renewal on that,” Joyce responded.

“So you’re saying that if they’re not in compliance with the coop, then we could deny them?” asked Mayor Jerry Cannon.

Board President Mike Thomas asked if the city should charge an additional fee for each chicken on top of the permit.

“Say somebody has three chickens or somebody has six, should we charge $5 or $10 per chicken?” he asked. “Like an animal license fee on top of the $25 permit fee for the coop?”

“I don’t think we should make it complicated,” Smith-Fernandez responded.

Alderwoman Kari Hartley wanted to know how the city would ensure they weren’t issuing a permit to someone who lived in a neighborhood that prevented chickens.

“How are we making them prove whether they have covenant restrictions or bylaws?” she asked. “Because I can tell you that like 97 percent of my neighborhood claim that they don’t know that we have bylaws.”

“We could put in a fee if you bring in a permit claiming you don’t have bylaws and the city finds out that you do that you have to pay a larger fine than a fee for that,” Joyce said. “So that puts the burden on the citizens to actually do their research.”

“They might get a higher fee but then they still get to keep their chickens?” Hartley asked.

“No, they don’t get chickens, either,” Joyce responded.

The lengthy discussion on the draft ended without the city taking action, except to say that it would be discussed at a future board of alderman meeting.

If the ordinance is approved, it would be amending the current ordinance that deals with the prohibition of the keeping of unsanitary and dangerous animals within the city. 

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at

truesdale, chicken, ordinance, resident, legal