, Derry, New Hampshire


July 25, 2013

Derry officials ponder rules for controlling animals

Complaints may spur livestock rule changes


Heard served on the Planning Board for a while during the town’s animal ordinance work years ago.

“It is a public nuisance,” Heard said. “It wakes us up at 3 or 4 a.m. It is a real frustration.”

It’s also about what constitutes a “public nuisance” when people like Heard start to complain. That could be not only noise from animals, but odors from manure or other items being stockpiled on someone’s property.

“You can’t blame the rooster for the problem,” Town Councilor Al Dimmock said. “The problem is the person who owns the rooster.”

By updating the ordinance, town officials may have more teeth for enforcing animal rules.

“It’s a tough situation,” Code Enforcement Director Bob Mackey said.

Derry has a lot of agriculture and rural areas, he said, and many people keep animals.

Livestock is also seen in more residential neighborhoods.

In Londonderry, the ordinance requires a minimum of 2 acres to keep chickens and other livestock.

Rules there have been strictly enforced.

One Londonderry resident, Jay Barrett of Wiley Hill Road, almost had enough property to keep a beloved horse — 1.6 acres as opposed to the 2-acre rule — but zoning officials denied his request for a variance to keep the animal earlier this year.

Mackey said it comes down to defining what a public nuisance truly is and getting it down on paper.

He said he will check the rules in other towns and officials will then talk about their options for adding new language or updating the animal laws.

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