Bastrop residents could face hefty fine for free roaming chickens

Bastrop city officials say anyone caught hiding chickens or refusing to let officers take them could face steep fines. This all comes after the city deemed the feral chickens a health hazard.

In Bastrop, chickens are not allowed to roam free and are required to be enclosed in some way.

Dozens of free range chickens can easily be spotted throughout parts of Bastrop. The wandering birds have hatched into a real problem for city officials.

Bastrop Police Department Chief James Altgelt says, "There are people who are concerned about it being a health issue."

Recently Bastrop City Council agreed to allow officers to crack down on residents. Officers can now go on to a resident's property to collect feral chickens.

Chief Altgelt says that if he or his officers spot feral chickens in plain sight on the person's property, officers will aks that resident for permission to go onto their property to remove the chickens.

If a person refuses Chief Altgelt says, "I still can't come onto your property but you're in violation of the ordinance by harboring that chicken."

And that can result in a hefty fine.

"I think what got the city council attention is when they heard about the number of chickens and the feces they leave behind and the health concerns that come with that," Altgelt says.

Altgelt wants to remind residents that they can still have chickens but they just can't be roaming around.

"We're not saying you can't a chicken on your property if you want to but you do have to have them in a coop," Altgelt says.

So far, according to Altgelt, they've snatched up more than 200 chickens. Last month the department caught 77 birds.

Altgelt says there's still work to be done.he says they're not as plentiful as they were at one time in certain areas but says there's still quite a few.

If you're found with a roaming chicken on your property officials say you could receive a fine of up to $500.