Unlike in the vast majority of large American cities, keeping chickens as pets in Philadelphia is illegal, thanks to City Councilman Brian “Killjoy” O’Neill. But one West Philadelphia woman just proved that you can fight City Hall — at least when it comes to backyard chickens.

Malaika Hart, a 41-year-old mother-of-four, keeps chickens as pets at One Art, a community center she runs on 52nd Street between Media and Master. Hart also grows figs, plums, and all sorts of vegetables and herbs there, and she thought that a brood of hens would be a perfect addition.

“We don’t have roosters,” explains Hart. “So they’re quiet. And most of the neighbors love them, and we give them eggs all the time. But some of the neighbors at some point called to complain.”


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