On Thursday, the City of Bakersfield announced that it was temporarily putting a hold on residents' ability to house hens in their backyards.
Back in September, the City Council voted 4 to 3 to allow residents to keep up to 12 hens within the city limits, with some provisions put in place. The number of hens a home is allowed to have is dependent on the property lot size and the distance to other buildings.
Before the vote, many community members spoke out asking the council to stop, delay, or to re-evaluate the ordinance due to health concerns revolving around diseases or noise complaints.
"We have to think about our entire community, not someone who has a personal need or a personal opinion that a chicken in their backyard is going to improve their lifestyle," one community member said at the meeting.
Then on Wednesday, the City Council discussed in a close session a lawsuit filed by Citizens for the Preservation of R-1 Zones and voted 6 to 0 to put a temporary restraining order on the hen ordinance until the matter is resolved. The move will save the city the cost of legal fees associated with the lawsuit.
"Therefore, please be advised that City residents should refrain from obtaining any hens until further notice," said a statement from the city.
At this time, it remains illegal for "any person to keep or have under their care, custody or control, either as owner or otherwise, any hen within any residential zone district unless otherwise provided by Bakersfield Municipal Code."