KENTFIELD (KPIX 5) -- A Marin County family is being sued by their homeowners' association over the chickens living in their backyard. Meanwhile the nine-year-old girl who owns them is not giving them up without a fight.
Raine Matthes has four chickens, Izzy, Collette, Phillipa and Lucy. She has been told to get rid of her birds, because they are against neighborhood rules.
"I love my chickens. They're a Barred Rock, Polish chicken and two bantams. They just seem to really listen to you, and treat you like you really matter to them," Matthes told KPIX 5.
But there is no room for sentiment. The Kent Woodlands Property Owners Association is taking the family to court.
Marin County Girl's Pet Chickens Running A-Fowl Of Kentfield Neighbors
"We don't allow for farm animals to be in Kent Woodlands," said Barry Evergettis of the association. "One of our concerns is predators. We have quite a few coyotes that come down through the area and take a lot of pets and chickens are just another attractant."
Raine's dad said the rules are vague and ambiguous. "It says only usual and common pets, such as caged birds. And we believe this is a cage, and these are birds," he said.
What upsets the family even more is that they believe they followed all the rules. Their chicken coop is less than 100 square feet and there's no electricity or water, so it's no different than any other structure like a shed on private property.
Raine's biggest supporter is the Nancy Danielson, the great-granddaughter of William Kent. The town of Kentfield is named after the family.
"And I remember chickens, I remember bulls, I remember a whole barn full of milk cows," Danielson said.
"It's not a matter of us dealing with a little girl and her chickens. Naturally, it'd be nice if she can have her chickens. But the fact is, that we don't allow them here," Evergettis said.
And it breaks Raine's heart that the chickens may have to go.
"I'll be really sad," she said. "Because these are my pets, and I really love them."
Neighbors are voting for or against the chickens, with the ballots being counted this week.
51 percent of the homeowners will have to be in favor for the egg layers to stay.
If they lose, the family said they will take their chances in court.
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