Seven Eldorado pet hen owners who are being sued by their homeowner association have launched a fundraiser for legal fees in anticipation of an upcoming trial date. The suit, filed more than a year ago on behalf of the Eldorado Community Improvement Association, alleges that the chicken owners are violating an association covenant that states: “No animals, birds or poultry shall be kept or maintained on any lot, except recognized household pets.” But the seven defendants contend that the words “recognized household pets” can include chickens. They point to a growing craze in adopting chickens as pets and the fact that pet stores now sell items like chicken coops.
“A lot of this comes down to the construction of the language in the covenant,” Ron VanAmberg, an attorney representing the chicken owners, tells SFR. “It doesn’t allow people to stop them from having chickens.”
Both sides have asked the District Court judge to make an out-of-court ruling. If not, the case is set for a trial date of May 5. Gershon Siegel, one of the hen owners named in the lawsuit, says the defendants will likely have legal bills left over even if it’s settled before May.
“We’ve burned through $20,000 in the first part of this thing,” he says. As of press time, the group had nearly $3,000 of their $20,000 goal raised. The website for the fundraiser, which can be found at gofundme.com/save-our-pet-hens, includes a three-minute video featuring three other defendants—residents Susan Billings, Devi Borton and David Borton—and a song.