In rooster-keeping ruling, Supervisor Hartmann shows commitment to constituents

I cannot speak highly enough in praise of Supervisor Joan Hartmann and her commitment to the residents of Santa Barbara County’s 3rd District.

We live in an amazing place, but it comes with challenges. Rural residents are facing increasing threats from illegal activity, especially rooster-keeping operations where hundreds of birds are kept close together. The noise is inescapable at all hours. The traffic is an increasing problem on our narrow roads. And the associated criminal activity is a threat to law abiding families. (There is a strong correlation between these operations and cockfighting — why else would you have hundreds of roosters living close together, when they aren’t raised for food and they aren’t needed for egg laying hens?)

Some of us approached Supervisors Hartmann and 4th District Supervisor Bob Nelson for help. Hartmann’s response was amazing. When it turned out that the law wasn’t there to address the problem, she worked with staff to create a new law that will limit the size of non-commercial rooster operations. She made sure to exempt commercial poultry farms as well as 4-H and FFA project participants. 

While Nelson sided with the rooster keepers — even when they shouted threats at the Board of Supervisors for reining in their activities — Hartmann held firm and shepherded through an ordinance that will protect legitimate poultry farms as well as rural residents. 

We need leaders who will put in the time to help their constituents, and do what is necessary to protect law abiding business people and community members.

Susan Ashbrook


EDITOR’S NOTE: Susan Ashbrook is the author of this letter. The wrong name was attributed to this letter in the Santa Ynez Valley Star’s Jan. 16 print edition.