STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
Correction: In the original article, “Doug the Rooster” was referred to as a “service animal.” The therapeutically prescribed description of his role is “emotional support animal” (ESA) utilized for the benefit of an individual under a doctor’s care for emotional or psychological conditions. We regret the error.
HORSESHOE BAY — The City Council approved an amendment to the city’s livestock ban to accommodate medically prescribed emotional support animals, which now includes the code’s first exemption, a chicken named Doug the Rooster.
On June 19, the Horseshoe Bay City Council unanimously approved the amendment to the “ordinance to allow the keeping of livestock on any property when used for therapy under a doctor’s care.”
The ordinance, under Chapter 2 (Article 2.07), regulates everything from prohibition of goats, bees, and chickens to the proper collection and disposal of the droppings of pet rabbits and guinea pigs.
“It’s about health and safety and quality of life,” said Horseshoe Bay City Manager Stan Farmer about the ordinance.
Officials placed the proposed amendment on the agenda after fielding complaints from residents in the Hills subdivision.
“Neighbors were complaining about the chickens,” Farmer said.
The neighborhood, just off RR 2831, was annexed by the city two years ago.
“The property owner’s renters are using the chickens … under a doctor’s care,” the city manager said. “The council amended that ordinance that basically says that if it’s a therapy animal — in this case, it’s a chicken — it’s an exception.”
The exempted property, comprised of two 5-acre tracts, is limited to no more than 10 hens along with Doug the Rooster.
The amendment also specifies that an exception request must be prescribed by a physician and brought before the City Council for final approval.
“They do have discretion,” Farmer said. “It’s a case-by-case basis.”