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Rooster Ordinance Exemption

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Rooster Ordinance Exemption

On December 16, 2014, Monterey County Supervisors approved a Rooster Ordinance that defines a Rooster Keeping Operation as one where 5 or more roosters are kept on any single property within the unincorporated areas of Monterey County. 

The purpose of the Rooster Ordinance is to balance the legitimate interests of agricultural businesses and agricultural educational organizations with the prevention of rooster keeping that is unsanitary, environmentally damaging, inhumane, and conducive to illegal cockfighting. No Rooster Keeping Operation can legally operate in the unincorporated areas of Monterey County without either a permit exemption or a permit.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  •  Those persons who keep less than 5 roosters are not affected by this ordinance.
  •  A rooster is a male chicken that is either 6 months or older, or has full adult plumage, or is capable of crowing.

 Permit Exemptions 

  • Poultry Operation – A poultry operation is primarily a business that raises poultry for meat or eggs. 
  • Poultry Hobbyist – A poultry hobbyist is typically a member of an organization that promotes breeding of poultry for exhibition or sale, or supports breeding as a hobby.

A complete application for an exemption from the permit requirement, based on the Poultry Operation or Poultry Hobbyist criteria above, must be submitted to the Agricultural Commissioner’s office  for approval. (Form 120 Rooster Keeping Permit Exemption Application (English), Form 120 Rooster Keeping Permit Exemption Application (Spanish))

In brief, a completed application consists of the applicant’s contact information, the number and types of fowl on the premises and a description of the purpose for which roosters are kept. The application also includes a declaration that the applicant or property owner has not been convicted of illegal cockfighting or crimes of animal cruelty and will not make any roosters available for illegal cockfighting. The applicant must supply supportive documentation such as business records, breed association memberships, show entries and results, etc., to substantiate their legitimate standing for exemption as a Poultry Operation or a Poultry Hobbyist.

An Animal Services Officer or the Agricultural Commissioner has the right to inspect any Rooster Keeping Operation at intervals as determined by the Animal Services officer, or as a result of a public complaint, or upon other notice received of possible violation of provisions of the ordinance regulating Rooster Keeping Operations.

Appeals (per Title 1.22 of the Monterey County Code) to any decision denying the exemption request are to be made to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors in writing, specifying the reasons for disagreement with the decision within 10 days of written notice of denial from the Agricultural Commissioner’s office. The appeal request must be accompanied with payment of an appeal fee if required. The Board will consider the appeal at public hearing within 60 days of acceptance of the completed appeal request. 

  • Educational Purpose – The rooster keeping operation is conducted by minors and sponsored by public or private schools registered with the California Department of Education.
  •  FFA / 4-H – The rooster keeping operation is conducted by minors and is part of a National Future Farmers of America (FFA) project or a University of California 4-H Youth Development Program (4-H) project.

A complete application for an exemption from the permit requirement, based on the Educational Purpose or FFA / 4-H criteria above, must be submitted a Monterey County Animal Services officer for approval. There is no fee requirement for processing this application. (Form 110 Rooster Keeping Permit Student/FFA/4H Exemption Application (English), Form 110 Rooster Keeping Permit Student/FFA/4H Exemption Application (Spanish))

In brief, a completed application consists of the minor’s name and his/her guardian’s contact information and the location where the roosters are kept. Included in the application is a declaration that the applicant or property owner has not been convicted of illegal cockfighting or crimes of animal cruelty and will not make any roosters available for illegal cockfighting. Additionally, documentation of the relationship the minor has with the sponsoring organization must be submitted with the application such as written verification from the minor’s school that he/she is a participant in the school’s educational project pertaining to roosters, or a copy of the minor’s FFA or 4-H membership card, or similar documentation, to substantiate their legitimate standing for exemption for Educational Purposes or FFA / 4-H members. No fee for this application is required.    

An Animal Services Officer or the Agricultural Commissioner has the right to inspect any Rooster Keeping Operation at intervals as determined by the Animal Services officer, or as a result of a public complaint, or upon other notice received of possible violation of provisions of the ordinance regulating Rooster Keeping Operations.

Appeals (per Title 1.22 of the Monterey County Code) to any decision denying the exemption request are to be made to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors in writing, specifying the reasons for disagreement with the decision within 10 days of written notice of denial from Monterey County Animal Services office. The appeal request must be accompanied with payment of an appeal fee if required. The Board will consider the appeal at public hearing within 60 days of acceptance of the completed appeal request.

The full text of the Rooster Ordinance and further details regarding exemptions and permit requirements can be found here (Ordinance 5249)

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions can also be found here (FAQ's)