Foul fowl problem in Covington could head to court

KING 5's John Langeler reports.

COVINGTON, Wash. -- CIty leaders have taken the unprecedented step of taking a property owner to court over violating land use regulations.

Last Tuesday, Covington's city council agreed to pursue legal action against Dustine Wilde, who has up to 50 birds in her backyard, despite only being allowed to have 5.

"The keeping of these animals disturbs the peace and quiet of a residential neighborhood," said Richard Hart from the City of Covington.

Officials have cited Wilde before because of complaints from neighbors over noise and odor coming from her backyard. 

Roughly two years ago, Wilde appealed citations against her, claiming the law over keeping of birds was confusing.  A judge agreed, and the case was thrown out.

Subsequently, city officials rewrote laws on the matter, establishing the 5 fowl maximum, and gave Wilde 8 months to comply, which Hart said, she did not.

"Nine months after that," he said, "People complained again."

Wilde insists she is being bullied by city hall.  She believes she is not breaking the law, and because she has had dozens of birds prior to the new law taking place, they can stay.

Hart said the city will now go to court to ask for permission to remove the birds.  There is no immediate timeline.

Copyright 2016 KING


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