Cape Girardeau City Council shoots down chicken proposal, gives first approval to prescription requirement

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Cape Girardeau resident Nelson Sparks houses ten chickens in a coop in his yard. The Cape Girardeau City Council Monday scratched plans to allow residents to keep chickens on their property. (Kristin Eberts)

Nelson Sparks is going to have to get rid of his babies after all.

The Cape Girardeau City Council scratched its plans Monday night to allow residents to keep chickens on their property, meaning Sparks will have to get rid of the 10 hens he's been keeping in his backyard since 2003.

The split vote reverses its preliminary approval the council gave at its Oct. 19 meeting. The plan would have removed chickens from a list of prohibited animals, with the intent of letting chicken-owners enjoy farm-fresh eggs.

"I'm quite disappointed," Sparks said. "I guess I'll have to get rid of our girls. It's going to be hard on us. We're going to hate to have to do that, but I guess we will."

Council member Kathy Swan switched her vote Monday after learning that the Columbia, Mo., ordinance that Cape Girardeau's was mirrored after allowed only six hens and this one allowed 10. Other council members said they had gotten many negative comments from the community.

Council member Debra Tracy, who supported the issue, said she hadn't seen any information about how the ordinance would be detrimental. Other communities that have passed ordinances have seen few complaints, she said.

"I haven't seen any solid facts against it except personal preferences," she said.

In its other major decision, the council gave first-round approval to an ordinance that would require a prescription for the purchase of pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is the key ingredient to the highly addictive and illegal drug methamphetamine. It is found in such popular cold medicines as Sudafed and Claritin D.

The council voted 4-2 in favor. It will be voted on again at its Dec. 6 meeting. If approved there, it would take effect 10 days later.

Two people spoke out about the issue, including an area physician and a lawyer who was there representing a consumer trade association of over-the-counter manufacturers and distributors.

Dr. Robert Sacha, an allergist, spoke out in favor of requiring prescriptions for the pills.

"Other drugs work for allergies and colds," Sacha told the council. "I don't think requiring prescriptions will be a hardship on people. It will be a hardship on people who use pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine. ... Having a stuffy nose is nothing in comparison to the havoc caused by methamphetamine."

But Cape Girardeau lawyer Kim Price didn't see it that way. She was at the meeting representing the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, which urged the council not to pass it.

State and federal law limits the amount of pseudoephedrine that a consumer can legally buy to 9 grams in 30 days, which is about the therapeutic dose. Missouri law already mandates electronic tracking of such sales in the state and requires pharmacies to deny purchasers who attempt to buy over the legal limit.

Council member John Voss agreed and voted against requiring prescriptions.

"We are going to be forcing law-abiding citizens to pay prescription prices," he said. "To me, this is a burdensome regulation we don't need."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent Address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau MO

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