Couple arrested for owning chickens - WNEM TV 5

Couple arrested for owning chickens

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A Mid-Michigan couple was thrown in jail for the crime of keeping chickens on their property.

They're accused of violating city rules, but the couple said they have a right to farm.

"Never been to jail, never been booked. I felt so humiliated," Theresa Hurst said. "We were not granted due process. We needed an explanation about why we couldn't keep chickens."

Hurst and her husband decided to grow chickens because they wanted to know where their food is coming from and what she said is added security of fresh food. 

The city of Tawas wrote Hurst a letter back in June telling her she had 14 days to remove the chickens from her property.  

"I asked the city several times, where are we on the status of this," she said.

Hurst admits, she didn't remove the chickens within the 14 days, but said the fact that she and her husband were arrested for it violating a blight ordinance went overboard. 

"We felt junk charge was them flexing their muscles," she said.

Hurst said she's been reaching out to city officials, but has been stonewalled.

TV5 went to city hall to try and speak with someone there, but no one was available. They also called the attorney handling the matter for the city, but he wasn't available either. 

"We removed the chickens because we were skeptical about what tricks they'd pull next. We can't afford to post more bail," she said.

Hurst said she's generated about 400 signatures from neighbors supporting her cause.

"I don't think they should've been arrested. It could've been something as simple as coming to her directly," Tricia Briggs said.

Ultimately Hurst said she just wants justice.

"I'm trying to fight for what's right. I feel like I've been treated unfairly," she said.

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