Cease and desist order on hold after complaints about animal odor at Amherst home

The board will address the nuisance issue of the smell, but not any questions of zoning

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Neighbors have been complaining about the smell coming from a residential property operating as a farm in Amherst.

Michelle Chandler raises animals on her West Pomeroy Road property in south Amherst. The Amherst Health Department told Chandler get rid of her rabbits last month.

But after a board of health meeting Thursday evening, the rabbits can stay…for now.

While it’s zoned residential, Chandler argues the city’s right to farm law lets her keep rabbits, chickens, and goats.

But Chandler’s neighbor, Susan Fortin, said she can’t deal with the smell from the rabbit manure.

“I don’t understand all of the details about bylaws and zoning and ordinances, but what I do know is I live in a house, and I can barely go outside in the summer,” Fortin told 22News.

Chandler appealed the cease and desist order issued by the Amherst board of health last month.

Amherst woman appealing town’s order to get rid of goats, chickens, rabbits

Thursday night’s hearing addressed complaints about noise, odor, and animal welfare. Several spoke on Chandler’s behalf, including customers who buy fresh eggs.

But Fortin said, “visiting isn’t the same as living. “For those of you who said you don’t smell it, you don’t live where I live.”

The Board of Health put the cease and desist order on hold for 60 days, and asked Chandler to move her rabbits across the street.

The board will address the nuisance issue of the smell, but not any questions of zoning.

“I guess if you can’t work things out agreeably, you work things out according to the law,” Chandler told 22News. “I’m really hopeful that the zoning board will find that the law is in my favor.”

Chandler plans to bring her case before the Zoning Board of Appeals next month.