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Threatened With Jail Time, A 'Chicken Outlaw' Takes A Deal

Court orders chickens to fly the coop; Scrappy Coco, Fluffy 1, Fluffy 2 and their yet unnamed feathered friends are on their way to an "undisclosed location."

New Milford 'Chicken Outlaw' Jeff DelVecchio was ordered by a judge Wednesday to get rid of his chickens by March 20th and fined $539 for violating an ordinance that bans raising chickens. 

Borough prosecutor Michael Kingman told DelVecchio that his choices were to plead not guilty, go to trial and face fines of up to $500 for every day that he was not in compliance with the law, or to take a plea deal, DelVecchio said.

He said Kingman also threatened jail time if DelVecchio continued to disobey the Board of Health ordinance restricting the keeping of poultry

DelVecchio took the plea agreement -- a fine of $1000 and 15 days to remove the chickens before further fines are applied. However, when he appeared before Judge Kevin Kelly, the fine was reduced to $539 and he was given until March 20th to remove the chickens.

"I don't think $1000 fine is equitable for only one summons," Judge Kelly told DelVecchio. Kelly then reduced it to $506 with $33 in court fees. 

Kelly informed DelVecchio that if the chickens are not removed by March 20th, he will issue a $100 fine every day that he is not in compliance with the Board of Health ordinance. 

"I'm happy that the judge let me plead my case," DelVecchio told Patch. "I'll continue to fight the fight. ... I'm still going to pursue a change to the ordinance.

"I'm asking the people of New Milford who support my efforts to write to the Board of Health and let them know that you support this change."

DelVecchio told Patch that Scrappy Coco, Fluffy 1, Fluffy 2 and their nameless friends are currently being relocated to an undisclosed location. 

Jeffrey DelVecchio March 14, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This is the easiest way to contact the borough: http://www.newmilfordboro.com/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=1&Itemid=88
Debi Klinger March 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM
How ridiculous! look at the pitbulls everyone has around town, they should outlaw those, not chickens! I cant believe this turned into such an ordeal for a guy who was just trying to make the world a little bit better for not only his family, but all of us.... Shame on New Milford!
Debi Klinger March 14, 2012 at 11:59 PM
and while im on a roll, the Borough should really be more worried about the trash that Brookchester is allowing to move into our nice little town, leave the poor chickens alone!
Ulises March 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Mr. DelVecchio, is their a specific ordinance # to reference when contacting the boro?
B.Barbagallo March 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Jeff-I really am so sorry this happened to you and you were fined. New Milford should be ashamed to have such an outdated ordinance. I hope more people find out about this injustice and support you and ask the NM Board of Health to change the ordinance. I'm glad you found another location for your chickens, but if that doesn't work, I'd keep them until I got fined.
Danielle March 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I would like to say I am shocked and appalled that this is the end result, but having observed the way things go down in this town, I am not surprised. It is far easier to pick on the nice guy trying to provide for his family than it is to fight a real battle against United Water, Hekemian, TMobile, Marty's VW, Jay's Repair Shop, Brookchester, and the whole slew of other people and businesses that wanto to relegate NM to a trashy, inconsequential Bergen County town. Ri-damn-diculous. And furthermore, the prosecutor threatening jail time? Are you kidding me??? Prime example of what is wrong with our country today. Stop the oppression. Allow people to live free. Don't take this garbage from them. We're with you, Jeff! Here comes the letter campaign!
Jeffrey DelVecchio March 15, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Although I had to pay a fine and move the chickens, the fight is far from over. The BOH is still discussing the matter. Please keep letting them know how you feel. I am not sure of the exact ordinance number but they will know what you mean.
Arlene M. Baladi March 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM
What a TOTALLY ridiculous move on the court's part in response to raising chickens for your own use...all six of them. Try something else...now you're really starting to piss people off! I am SO sorry that you had to endure this circus and were also fined Mr. DelVecchio...please don't give up, we are all behind you all the way!
Denise March 15, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Debi-I am hoping that you are the Klinger of "Klingers Farm"? With that said I'm sure when you were younger you too also had chickens in NM. I agree with both of your posts, especially the pitbulls. I had an experience with one, had it gone any further the town of NM would have heard a lot more than me screaming...perhaps a lawsuit. The police were involved & when they met the owner & dog, I HAD TO CALL to find the outcome... The cops even said the dog was pretty scary. As I am now on a roll also, I agree with the you regarding the people that are being allowed to move in to Brookchester. This was originally apartments built for men coming home from war & their families....My, how times & the Borough have changed...for the worse in my opinion....
Denise March 15, 2012 at 04:15 PM
By the way, I do hope the chickens find a good home in Van Saun Park. I'm sure they will be well taken care of there. It is also close enough that Mr. DelVecchio & his family can go and visit them....
Bobby March 15, 2012 at 07:52 PM
What a foolish statement to bring up the possibility of jail time. I'm sure by law it could happen but what ever happened to using common sense.
Kim Hunter March 15, 2012 at 11:01 PM
This is the ordinance: BH:5-1 KEEPING OF ANIMALS. BH:5-1.1 Keeping Poultry Prohibited. No poultry shall be kept or permitted to be kept in the Borough. (1968 Code §74-12)
Danielle March 15, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Hey!!! Who deleted Joe's comment?? Now Patch is censoring our comments???
Danielle March 15, 2012 at 11:57 PM
my email to the town, which I had hoped to post on here but accidentally sent without saving a copy, basically said that in an era of undisclosed, genetically modified crops, hormonally modified meat, eggs and dairy, pesticide poisoned fruits and vegetables, and ever increasing cases of cancers, infertility, autism and a whole slew of other illnesses, trying to protect ourselves and our families is essentially a form of self defense and preservation. How dare they take that basic right away from us? Trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle is not a new trend, it is a necessity in a time of uncertainty.
Danielle March 15, 2012 at 11:58 PM
and I still want to know what happened to Joe's comment. What? Encouraging people to vote out the incumbents is suddenly illegal? Or maybe it was calling the BOH the gestapo? What happened to free speech? Or is that gone the way of the chicken rearing?
Jeffrey DelVecchio March 16, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I missed that one.
Ann Piccirillo March 16, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I promise I did not delete Joe's comment. Maybe Joe deleted?
Big Ben March 16, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Ann, The trustworthiness of The Patch has been breached in that many offerings have been deleted. I believe you when you say that you do not do it - obviously there is a 3rd, unauthorized, party. Since you have been unable to identify and stop this individual, commenting is fruitless. Good Bye
Danielle March 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Ann, I believe you as well. Joe happens to be my husband and brought up the fact that someone deleted his comment. It was inflammatory from the view of borough officials. I agree with Big Ben in that someone is filtering what stays and what goes. Big problem in my book.
Arlene M. Baladi March 19, 2012 at 12:09 AM
The court and the BOH are obviously trying to strong-arm Mr. DelVecchio into doing exactly what they want...

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