Should Evanston become fowl friendly? After weeks of contentious debate, that was the question being put to that northern suburb's City Council on Monday.
The city of Chicago and at least five suburbs already allow chickens as pets. But keeping chickens in Evanston has been banned since 1974, with poultry placed in the same prohibited category as horses, mules, swine, sheep, goats, cattle, skunks and even poisonous reptiles.
Most residents adverse to the idea of lifting the ban have raised concerns about sanitation, smells, spread of disease and the possibility of the coops luring other predators, such as coyotes.
But others say a chicken poses no greater risk than a dog or a cat.
"I think that really it's about change. It's about people taking responsibility for their food source [and] not just being consumers. And the recent egg recall and scare, I think, proves the case," said Ellen King of Evanston's Backyard Chicken Committee.
Discussion on the matter continued as of 10:30 Monday night.