Safety Harbor city commissioners to vote on backyard chickens

Cage-free chickens walk in a fenced pasture on the Francis Blake organic farm, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, near Waukon, Iowa. Blake gathers an average of 2,500 dozen eggs a week from his flock of 5,000 cage-free hens. An increasing customer demand for more eggs from chickens free from cages has left U.S. egg farmers with the question of whether to spend millions of dollars to convert or build cage-free barns. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

SAFTEY HARBOR, Fla.(WFLA) — Safety Harbor city commissioners will make the final vote Thursday on whether or not to allow residents to keep backyard chicken coops.

If the ordinance passes, residents not under the jurisdiction of HOA would be allowed to keep chickens in their backyard.

Safety Harbor would be joining other cities in Pinellas County like St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Gulfport and Largo.

This comes on the heels of a major warning from the CDC. The CDC is warning backyard chickens are causing more salmonella outbreaks.

Officials encourage people who keep chickens, not to treat them as pets, keep your faces away from them, and always wash your hands after handling the birds.

Local healthcare professionals tell WFLA News Channel 8 they are seeing more salmonella cases and some of them do believe it’s due to chickens.

“A lot of the children and a lot of the people getting salmonella do in fact have their own chickens because that is one of the questions we do ask in the interview process,” said Warren McDougal an epidemiologist manager.

The city commission meeting in Safety Harbor is at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, June 8 at City Hall.

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