Rooster complaints prompt County Council to look at noise zone

EVERETT — When they’re awakened by crowing roosters, slumbering suburbanites have no official recourse in much of unincorporated Snohomish County.

The same goes for sounds from a host of other livestock: braying donkeys, oinking pigs and mooing cows.

The county’s noise nuisance law for farm animals only applies south of 164th Street in Lynnwood and west of the Bothell-Everett Highway. Elsewhere, outside of city limits, county code creates a specific exemption for livestock noises.

That could change soon.

The Snohomish County Council is looking to expand the nuisance zone to the southern city limits of Mukilteo and Everett. The Bothell-Everett Highway, also known as Highway 527, would remain the eastern boundary.

“It’s just roosters,” County Councilwoman Stephanie Wright said. “Everybody loves chickens. Most people are very happy with their neighbors’ farm animals.”

Wright pursued the code amendment after receiving constituent complaints. Her district includes the mostly suburban areas between Mukilteo and Lynnwood that would be affected by the change.

“It’s just getting more and more dense,” she said.

She and other council members plan to discuss the issue when they meet at 9 a.m. Aug. 26. They’ll schedule a public hearing before voting on changes.

Aside from urbanization, another factor likely driving the complaints is the growing popularity of backyard farming and locally grown food. That’s led some local cities to loosen rules for keeping chickens and even goats.

Almost all of the complaints about livestock noise in the county involve roosters.

Animal control officers receive a few every year but don’t keep an exact tally, said Vicki Lubrin, who manages licensing and animal control for the county auditor.

“They bring in a rooster because they think they need a rooster to get eggs — they don’t,” Lubrin said.

People usually get rid of the male birds once an officer explains that they’re not allowed in certain areas, she said.

The potential fine is $50 for the first offense and $100 for each subsequent violation.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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