Update-In his own words-Convicted Criminal Chickenkeeper-It’s always a neighbor!!!


Convicted Criminal Chickenkeeper  


How I Became an Outlaw

Randy Zeilinger

My story as follows represents the legal events that have taken place over the past year and a half. The tale is actually longer in duration than that.


I live in Garden City, Michigan. A small city of some 20,000 – 25,000 people (2010 Census data) in Wayne County.  This municipality was founded back in 1832 as described by the official city website http://www.gardencitymi.org/2010department.asp?p=profile.

“Dating back to 1832, when the first settlers came from Ireland, Mr. John Lathers received a deed signed by Andrew Jackson for 160 acres of land that is now bound by Ford Road, Harrison and Marquette. The original developers of our city pictured it as an independent community containing enough industry to support its citizens. They subdivided large lots, in many cases a full acre, to provide residents ample space for small-scale farming. They patterned the town after the “Garden City” concept that became popular in England during the 19th Century. In 1927, the area was incorporated into a village with an estimated of 900 and an area of 3,600 acres. In December 1933, the big step was taken to incorporate Garden City into a city, having an area of 5.8 miles with a population of 2,500. A charter adopted that year provided for a Mayor-Council non-partisan form of Government. November 1975 saw the installation of a City Manager to join with the existing government. Today, the City has a population of just under 28,000 and is the 42nd largest city in Michigan.

The above was quoted verbatim as a cut and paste from the website.  The number of population has fallen dramatically since 2000 census.

Given its close proximity to Detroit and the car companies there, Garden City became a city of working, middle-class citizens. Garden City can also boast as being the home of the first Little Cesar’s Pizza Parlor and the first K-Mart.

All in all, Garden City is a great place to raise a family and we see many cases of successional generations raising their families in the same home as their parents. I grew up in this city.


I purchased my home in 2000. I started moving in around March of the same year. I moved my bee hives at the same time and was immediately confronted by a neighbor who called the police.  The attending officer said that bees were OK if I kept them in my own yard. In hind sight, I should have noted the complaint and resulting dialog. However, I thought that I was within my rights based on the Michigan state law, often referred to as the “Right to Farm Act”.


In fact, I was (am) covered by this law.

Over the next ten years or so, this same neighbor lodged numerous complaints against me. City officials recognized that these complaints were baseless in nature and merely a case of “everyone has one of THOSE neighbors”. That neighbor is known as CS, remember these initials.


In early 2009, I began researching the plausibility of keeping ducks and chickens as a natural pest control method in lieu of using chemical pesticides.  Thorough research indicated that I was legally entitled to keep poultry. Provided that I had a commercial operation to do so. That provision was met by selling eggs and composted manure provided by the chickens. I also met the federal guidelines as a farm operation as established by the USDA.

After nearly a year of keeping poultry, I had a falling out with a different neighbor (CC) over the ducks. At the time, I decided to re-home the ducks and all was well with the neighbors.

Now in 2012, the same neighbor (CC) decided that she didn’t like my chickens and insisted that I get rid of them. Her premise was that I never asked her permission to have chickens in my own private yard. She also made other demands of what I could or could not have within my own yard. Her reasoning was that they had lived here longer than I had and that I needed neighbor permission to take care of my own property and the things that were there.  For example, my koi and frog pond was not to her liking.  But a particular sore spot for her was a tree growing in my front yard that she did not like. She called the city to cut the tree down and the city refused to come onto my property to remove the tree.

So now I have a ****** off neighbor who calls the ordinance department to complain about chickens that she can’t see and insists on filing a legal complaint. Part of that complaint was that my chickens were harassing her dog through the fence.  Seriously?

Anyway, the ordinance officer comes out for an inspection and sees no sign of chickens anywhere on the premises.  He did not see a chicken; he did not hear a chicken; he did not smell a chicken. But since I had spoken in favour of a chicken ordinance before city council he decided to issue a ticket based solely on the statement of a ****** off neighbor.

The ordinance violation was written against a 50 year-old ordinance.


(A)     No person shall keep or house any animals or fowl within the city except dogs, cats, canaries, or animals commonly classified as pets, customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets.

(B)     No person shall sell, or offer for sale, barter, or give away baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl as pets or novelties, whether or not dyed, colored, or otherwise artificially treated. This division shall not be construed to prohibit the display or sale of natural chicks or ducklings in proper brooder facilities by hatcheries or stores engaged in the business of selling the same to be raised for commercial purposes.

(Ord. 11-006, passed 4-25-11)

Copied verbatim from:



The ordinance officer visited my farm on March 21, 2012.  Several weeks later, I received a post card from 21st District Court to appear for a zoning violation dated March 23, 2012.

Mid-April, I appeared in court before the Honorable Judge Richard L, Hammer, Jr. of the 21st. District Court.  The judge sent me back to meet with the city prosecutor, Timothy L. Cronin (P26417).  During this meeting, Mr. Cronin said that if I wanted a farm then I should move out of the city. When I replied that I am unable to move, he said that chickens were not allowed in the city and if I pursued the case that he would “make an example” of me. He went on to say that the mayor did not want farm animals in the city and that he took direction from the mayor. He further indicated that I was not welcome in this city and I would be foolish to continue the case. At no time did he indicate that a compromise could be reached.  The case was returned to the judge who set a new appearance date for a few weeks later. I appeared in April and May of 2012 only to have the dates postponed again.

Following those court appearances, I attended city council meetings and spoke in favour of allowing chickens in Garden City. During one of those meetings, I met a report for the local paper, the Garden City Observer.  Reporter Sue Buck spoke to me and asked for an interview and photo session regarding backyard chickens.  The article ran on the front page of the June 24 issue.  About that time two (2) other people who spoke in favour of keeping chickens were also charged with violations.  Again, the ordinance officer saw no chickens at either defendants’ residence.  Tickets were simply mailed.

Now in July of 2012, the animosity of the neighbors has grown. One (CC) vandalized my property and then called the city that my property was in disarray. Then an anonymous call was made to police about a crowing rooster. Oddly enough, I had no rooster at all.  July 17th, I had a court appearance and while I was at court, the neighbors (CC’s husband and CS) went to visit my mother who resides in another city.  They essentially threaten her in order to get me to get rid of my chickens.   Picture, if you will, two (2) men, both over 6 foot tall and well over 200 pounds, standing over an 80 year-old widow making demands that she force her son to capitulate to their demands. My poor mother was so intimidated that she cannot answer the doorbell to this day. The police here in Garden City declined to intervene. The police in Westland paid a “safety call” to my mom but did nothing else.

By the end of July, the police had been called to my house a half a dozen times. Each time was a response to an anonymous complaint called in. No charges were leveled.


Just crazy right?!?…well read on…For more of this story…follow the above link-You don’t have to have a dog or cat or several t be harassed…To help  offset the money Randy needs for his multiple legal issues, continue reading here… Randy Zeilinger appears to be the victim of target enforcement, for whatever the reason. He’s going to have continued legal fees and fines until someone finally puts a stop to this nonsense…You can help!!!


Please Help the Chicken Criminal


Updated from this post: https://topcatsroar.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/a-neighbors-complaint-once-again-guilty-for-chickens/

Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others…Stay tuned  Best -B

~ by topcatsroar on May 28, 2013.

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