[Vision2020] Pullman teen fighting for chicken change

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Thu Mar 21 10:22:56 PDT 2019

Courtesy of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News at:



Pullman teen fighting for chicken change
FFA, 4-H member no longer allowed to raise hens at his home, looks to rewrite city code

A 17-year-old Pullman High School student is trying to persuade the city to change its rules to allow more residents to have chickens.

Kevin Lassiter, an FFA and 4-H member who once had three pet chickens at his home at Campus Vista Park, but is now forced to house them elsewhere because of city code, appealed Pullman Planning Director Pete Dickinson’s decision denying Lassiter’s request for keeping three chickens.

Lassiter will go before the Pullman Planning Commission Wednesday to plead his case and possibly change the city code.

Current city zoning code states that for homes to have fowl on the property, they need a lot size of at least 10,000 square feet and a minimum of 2,000 square feet of land per animal. Lassiter’s home has a total of 3,000 square feet.

Lassiter said his family is trying to convince the city to allow three to six hens at residences like his for the purpose of household pets, egg laying and for the benefit of other 4-H and FFA students.

He said hens do not take up much space, are easy to contain and are relatively harmless.

His family believes it is unfair the city is more restrictive toward chickens than it is toward dogs and cats, as zoning code allows up to four dogs and cats per dwelling unit.

Lassiter also said it seems unfair that Pullman has stricter rules than Seattle, which allows up to eight domestic fowl in any lot.

According to Dickinson, current zoning code is clear.

“There are no exceptions to these rules for chickens that serve as companion or therapy pets, nor for chickens that are used in 4-H or FFA programs,” Dickinson wrote in a memo to the Pullman Board of Adjustment in November. “Likewise, there are no exemptions in the city’s regulations based on the absence of neighborhood complaints or claims that chickens generate fewer impacts than dogs.”

Lassiter said he started raising chickens because, after showing them at the Whitman County Palouse Empire Fair, he liked them so much he wanted to keep them.

But when their landlord found out about the hens — Lassiter said his family did not hear of any complaints from the neighbors — they were sent an eviction notice for violating the lease.

Because of this, the Lassiters will not be able to raise chickens on their property no matter the city’s decision. However, Lassiter said they are still pursuing their appeal so that others in the city will be allowed to raise hens of their own.

“We went through the whole process so we might as well follow through with it,” he said.

Lassiter said it can be difficult for a students to participate in FFA and 4-H when they live away from their animals and are unable to visit them every day. He said chickens need to be around their owner often so they become less timid around people and more comfortable at competitions.

Now his animals stay with his grandmother in Genesee, including a 12-year-old hen named Roanie who they brought to a Pullman Board of Adjustment meeting when discussing their appeal.

“It was quite interesting to bring a live animal to a professional meeting,” he said.

Lassiter’s mother, Aletha Lassiter, said when they still had their chickens in their Pullman yard, the fowl had “the whole place to themselves” and provided endless entertainment when chasing after bugs or rolling in the dirt.

“They had such a great life here,” she said.


Photo . . .

Kevin Lassiter, left, and Charles Lassiter pose with Roani, a 12-year-old Americano Bantam hen.



Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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