DERRY — There are places in town where animals roam freely throughout the neighborhood.
That’s why the Planning Board is looking at updating the town’s livestock ordinance to make sure rules are in place when it’s time to control those animals.
Animal Control Officer Marlene Bishop is helping update Derry’s animal laws for enforcement when animal owners aren’t following the rules.
“The last accepted ordinance was very inefficient in the rules and specifics of what could be allowed and now allowed,” Bishop said.
That was back in 2008.
Bishop has seen it all.
“There are chickens running around the neighborhood, roosters crowing at all hours of the day and night, horses running at large and pigs where they don’t belong in the middle of town,” she said.
The updated ordinance came about after several residents complained to town officials about roosters crowing at all hours and causing a neighborhood nuisance.
There have been several workshops since then on ways to make Derry’s animal laws clearer. Many rules also fall under the state statutes for controlling livestock and fowl. Derry’s ordinance could put more specifics into certain areas of the law.
Defining a “nuisance” is a big part of the updated rules, Bishop said.
That word could mean noise, anything bothering a neighbor, manure stored incorrectly, odors or anything offensive, she said.
Many animal owners do follow the rules. Many others just don’t know what’s allowed when it comes to keeping animals.
“Some people just don’t understand,” Bishop said. “Ignorance has been the problem.”
Bishop will often talk to residents about potential animal problems and situations are resolved relatively simply. But at other times, an animal owner pushes the limits as far as they can.
“I’ve got lists of streets where ducks run at large,” she said. “The issues I’ve been seeing are not just roosters crowing.”