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Police Jury: What’s that smell?

by David Specht

During the monthly Webster Parish Police Jury meeting that took place Tuesday morning, there were two members of the public that came to voice a complaint that grabbed everybody’s attention.

George and Gary Green, citizens of Webster parish who live on Green Road, a road a couple of miles north of Dixie Inn, came to speak about a chicken farm that has recently come into their community. They claim that they were given no notice when the chicken house was being built or what it would be used for, but after months of operation, they have one huge complaint.

“We got out of the car exactly one mile away from these chicken houses, and when my nephew opened the backdoor, his daughter threw up in the backseat from the smell,” said Gary Green. 

The smell emanating from the chicken farm is the chief complaint they have about their new neighbors. After having lived there for decades, they say that the chicken houses are making them consider moving away.

“These people are ruining the neighborhood, they’re running me out of my home. I’ve lived in this house for 38 years. Last week my wife walked through the house and said, ‘I hate this house.’ Her kids were raised there. She hates her house because of these chicken houses,” Gary Green.

When the trucks take the litter away from the chicken farm, it has been falling off and landing on the roads in front of the houses of the community. They stated they have to drive through it and to hear them describe it, the smell is nearly unbearable. 

They even brought in samples for the Police Jury members to see. They even asked if they wanted to smell it, but none of the jurors took them up on their offer.

Now typically chicken litter is an organic absorbent substance, like wood chips, that is used as a bedding in order to absorb moisture and prevent the spread of harmful pathogens or ammonia. 

However, the sample that they brought to the meeting resembled little of anything other than a thick brown mud-like substance which is what they described as a mish-mash of chicken feces, urine, and even carcasses. 

“This is what we’re being told is clean dry litter. This is mud,” the George Green. 

Given the odd nature of the case, Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson stated he didn’t know at that moment if what the chicken houses were doing was illegal and whether they had the grounds to enforce anything, but stated that they are well within their rights to sue. “If the chicken houses came after them and are ruining fair use of their property, they have their own right to get their own lawyers and sue these people,” said Jackson.

After some more discussion, it was clear that pursuing a lawsuit wasn’t exactly something that they wanted to risk, Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson and Jim Bonsall agreed to take the time to come out and speak with the owners of the chicken farm and the Greens to see if they could try to find a compromise.

The monthly Webster Parish police Jury meeting takes place every Tuesday starting at 8:30 a.m. at their offices located at 401 Main Street.

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