Ever since the city cited her family for having chickens in their backyard, 7th-grader Isabella Acuña has been speaking to city council members, gathering signatures for a petition and spreading the word on local news segments in an effort to change Houston's hen ordinance.
Isabella's family originally got cited after a neighbor saw an escaped chicken running down the road and called in a complaint. According to city law, you need at least 100 feet of buffer space between a chicken coop and your neighbors, making it pretty much impossible to raise chickens in the suburbs.
But Isabella, who loves chickens "as friends, not food," is campaigning to bring that distance down to 20 feet, on par with the requirement in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. She says hens make good pets because they eat insects, produce eggs and manure, and have "big personalities."
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So far her petition has 663 signatures, and city council members have been "encouraging to varying degrees." Until the situation gets resolved, the chickens are residing at her grandma's house.