The rise of backyard chickens in Northern Virginia has sparked a heated policy debate in Arlington, but it has also led to an increase in abandoned chickens showing up at shelters.
In 2011, Prince William County approved a measurethat allowed raising birds on some residential properties. Since then, the number of chickens that the Prince William County Animal Shelter has taken in has risen.
In 2011, the shelter — which also accepts chickens from Arlington, since the Animal Welfare League of Arlington does not house poultry — saw 23 chickens. After Prince William passed its new ordinance, the number of chickens at the PWCAS jumped to 33 in 2012 and 29 already in 2013.