Residents of Newport can now (legally) keep chickens as pets.
The City Council approved amendments to the existing livestock ordinance, allowing residents to keep one hen per 800 square feet. A household can have a maximum of six.
Many residents keep chickens in their backyards to produce their own food, especially important in tough economic times, or simply as new pets for their children to play with.
One City Council spokesperson is excited about the ordinance, not only because residents will no longer be brought into municipal court for zoning violations, but also that law enforcement can focus on more important issues.
Some communities in Rhode Island allow backyard chickens, such as Barrington and Providence. Last year, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung vetoed the ordinance, worrying it would add to the city's rat problem and potentially bring down property value for surrounding homes.