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Seattle City Council Blogs

Archives Find of the Month: Chicken Complaint, 1945

hughesIn September 1945, Hildur Hughes wrote to City Council with the following complaint:

The war is now over and with it should go some of the inconveniences we put up with because there was a need to do so.  The raising of chickens became a neighborhood pest and those of us who forbore raising them put up with the unsanitary conditions that arose, the ugliness, the flies they carried and the shrill cry of roosters every morning at about 4:30 or 5, in order to patriotically share in any assistance to the meat shortage.

The war is over, but the chickens persist.  Homes are close to each other in our neighborhood.  To illustrate, the home to the left of us is 20 feet from ours.  The garage of Charles Wall’s home (to the right) at 4828 49th So. is only 11 feet from our corner bedroom.  The Walls raise chickens – lots of them and roosters – dozens of them.  We asked them to do away with the roosters because they disturb our sleep every morning very early.  We felt we were making a concession in not complaining about the unsanitary and unsightly chicken coops.  But nothing has been done and the crowing is getting lustier every morning.

I believe in law and order.  If I did not I would walk into the Wall yard and cut off the heads of those roosters – no doubt the chickens too.  You, all, would feel the same.  But I believe in law and order and not in neighborhood quarrels.  Can you people do something about this situation.  We hope to make a home here but find ourselves irked by these chicken nuisances.  Will you please inform these people that where homes are built so closely, that it is unsportsmanlike, unneighborly, poor citizenship, inconsiderate, selfish as well as illegal to continue the practice of raising chickens.  Please help us in this respect.

Respectfully yours,

(Mrs.) George W. Hughes

The Department of Health and Sanitation sent out an inspector to investigate just over a week after Mrs. Hughes wrote her letter.  His conclusions were succinct:

We find that this chicken house is built well above the ground so as not to constitute a rat harbor and is kept in a sanitary condition.

At the present time there are no roosters on the premises.

We find no case for complaint.

His report was forwarded to Mrs. Hughes.  No further response from her appears in the city records.

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