Monday, September 21, 2009

Choke that Chicken! Updated

In my last missive, I mentioned at the end my concern over raising fighting cocks in town. Unfortunately, for me this is not hypothetical. I live Eastside, just off Bell St, a neighboorhood of quarter-acre lots. Mostly blue-collar, good working folk, pay the bills, mow the grass, responsible folks doing our best to take care of business, a little older demographic than the "late-night party" crowd.

Now comes one rudely inconsiderate bloke who thinks this is a fine venue in which to raise gamecocks. We are not talking here an egg-and-meat flock of mostly hens, but 14-16 fighting cocks. With Louisiana finally making chicken fights illegal, nowhere in the US is it legal to fight chickens for fun and profit, as it should be. As a nation, we take cruelty to animals seriously enough that a top rank quarterback in the NFL served over two years for fighting dogs.

At least the dogs, typically Pit Bulls, have another purpose than fighting. One neighbor has 4 Pits, but they are truly pets. I suspect his kids would revolt were he ever inclined to fight them, which he does not do.

As to gamecocks; they are born and bred for one purpose alone: to slaughter one another immediately anytime two roosters find themselves in reach of one another. At $50 to $150 each, they are not being raised for Sunday fried chicken dinner, and they sure don't lay eggs for breakfast.

What they do is, in frustration at being unable to fight the rooster in the adjoining cage, they indulge in crowing contests. All night long, every night. Perhaps the single rooster in a flock of hens might crow at dawn, but these rascals are at it 18 hours out of 24. Heat of the day they get in the shade and rest, so they can keep me up all night crowing at 3:30 in the AM. The 100 foot distance now in ordinance does nothing to alleviate the noise.

I have nothing against the egg & meat flock of hens, maybe A rooster to keep the flock self-sustaining. My grandmother raised chickens and quail when I was a kid, had an incubator and taught me the art of "candling" eggs to determine fertility. One of my chores was collecting eggs and plucking Sunday dinner sometimes. Frankly, the eggs ARE tastier than supermarket eggs, and the clucking of hens keeps no one disturbed at night, hens coop up and stay silent.

Over several months we have established that my rude neighbor cares not a whit for my inconvenience. SAPD kicks me over to Animal Control. Our noise ordinance gets enforced if an apartment-dweller cranks his stereo at 2:00 AM, but mention "birds" and SAPD backs off, tells me to call Animal Control, which has done all it can under current law. I'm not really chewing on SAPD here, our existing noise ordinance is loosely written, I can see not looking forward to making a rooster noise case in court.

Wednesday I will present to Animal Services Board a proposed new ordinance limiting roosters in town. Noon at the Convention Center. If you have a similar problem, or for that matter, wish to defend your right to keep your neighbors awake, be there. This is how things get done.

Update: It turns out the Wednesday meeting had to be canceled. Seems city staff forgot to post the agenda on the city hall bulletin board 72 hours before the meeting, as required by the Texas Open Meeting laws. They also failed to post it on the city website as required by the last city charter changes. This issue should be on the agenda for the next meeting which is currently scheduled for October 15th. Hopefully they will be ready next time.

I realize that there is some confusion now because they have a new health director, and they are losing the current animal services director, but this is not the first time that the ball has been dropped for this board. We finally have a board that is involved, active, and paying attention. They need to be better served by the city staff.

No comments:

Post a Comment