Chickens? Yes. Pythons? No.
Where do you draw the line on animals in residential areas? I don’t just mean dogs and cats, but any animal kept in a home, particularly wild ones. We’ve published some entries here at Show-Me Daily arguing against individuals being allowed to keep dangerous animals as domestic pets. But what about animals like chickens, which violate the zoning codes of many cities? Today’s Kansas City Star has a story about the burgeoning chicken movement. Is there a difference here?
Of course there is, and it is an easy one to identify, define, and enforce. Animals that are threats to the lives of people should not be allowed to be kept as pets. This includes any non-domesticated mammal or reptile. If it can kill a child, it should be outlawed. “But, David, dogs kill people,” you might say. Yes, that happens, but there is a definition of domestication that dogs fit into — attacks are outliers.
In short, more animals should be outlawed than allowed as pets. In rural areas, the rules can obviously be lighter than in urban areas (especially when talking about numbers), but I still don’t think anyone should be allowed to own wild animals that are any threat to people at all. So, no tigers, bears, poisonous snakes, pythons, komodo dragons, wolves, etc. You have the right to live your life, but not to attempt to control the life of a wild animal while endangering the lives of your neighbors.
Chickens are small, domesticated animals that pose no ordinary threat to human beings, either by attack or disease — although I guess you never can be sure when it comes to the latter. People should be allowed to keep chickens as pets, though it would be understandable to limit their numbers in a residential area.