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If your free-range chicken does its ranging in the wrong place, you might get fined

  • Backyard chickens, including two New Hampshire Reds seen in the foreground, are becoming more common in the state. Courtesy

  • A chicken stands in the middle of Allen Road. She and her flock came running over when a mysterious car stopped on the roadside. Elodie Reed



Monitor staff
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Fans of free-range chicken farming take note: If your chicken freely ranges onto somebody else’s property, you could be in trouble.

On Tuesday, Gov. Chris Sununu signed into law a bill that adds “domestic fowl” to a long-standing state law that makes owners of farm animals liable if their beasts do damage to somebody else’s property, or even enter it “without written permission” if the property owners objects.

Breaking that law, titled Trespassing Stock (RSA 635:3), makes you guilty of a violation, liable to unspecified fines.

That law dates back to the early 1970s, but aside from adding domestic birds to the list of possible perpetrators, the new amendment adds this sentence: “Complaints shall be made to law enforcement officials or local animal control officers who shall enforce the provisions of this section.” Apparently this isn’t a subject for citizen arrest.