Get Your Voice Here!
THE CITIZEN'S SPEAK OUT
(Much of this was BORROWED From The Citizen)

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Citizen's Voice
Chick February 14, 2001...
"I am really getting tired of the vehicles in this town. They don't stop at signs, the trolleys pull out in front of you. A lady almost runs over a kid to avoid a chicken, probably because she is going too dang fast."

"Are all the people complaining about the
chickens just whiners? The chickens were here first. If they knew the chickens were here, why did they move here in the first place? Are these the same people who will whine after the chickens are gone about being over run by cockroaches?"

"If the citizens of [Conch Republic] don't like the number of chickens in their yard, everyone bond together and sign petitions."
Chick February 19, 2001...
"What came first, the chicken or the cockroaches?"Henne01

"Mmmmm . . . chicken! They're just running around, all over. Yummy!"
Chick March 28, 2001...
I have a solution to the chicken problem. Take them all to Stock Island. After all, [Conch Republic] hauls their abandoned cars, sofas, washing machines, etc., there. So what the hell, bring the chickens too. Maybe the [Conch Republic] commissioners could buy the old dog track and create the first chicken rehab center and we could all enjoy Sunday afternoon chicken races."

"Let's not worry so much about the chickens on the island who do positive things. They eradicate the cockroaches and scorpions, which is more than the homeless do cluttering up the streets. Let's eradicate them."

"Many people have made a fuss about the cat and chickens that got "nailed" but we don't think anything about the dogs and chickens that are mutilated for pleasure on Rockland Key from the cockfights and the dog fights."
Chick April 17, 2001...
"There should be a [Conch Republic] Ancient Chicken Society. The CRACS would protect those old chickens that were here before we were and run the new ones out of town."

"I think I have come up with an idea to control the overpopulation of chickens in [Conch Republic]. Perhaps we could give one chicken to each tourist and they can take them home and have a souvenir of [Conch Republic]."
Chick April 18, 2001...
"As a longtime [Conch Republic] resident, I take great offense at the way people are coming up with to try to get rid of the chickens. The chickens are part of [Conch Republic]. They have been here a lot longer than some of the newcomers who complain about them. My solution is: If you don't like the chickens here, then you should move to a different place."

"I would like to know why everybody is complaining about the chickens. People take their dogs to do their business in other people's yards. Cats sleep on cars, leaving paw prints all over the cars. Get rid of the dogs and cats and leave the chickens alone."
Chick April 21, 2001...
"Too bad we couldn't put up little chicken houses around town with small nests of straw and fake eggs. The chickens would lay their eggs in there because they would be secure, and two things would happen. One, [Conch Republic] would have a new industry selling fresh eggs; and number two, less eggs means less chickens."
Chick June 23, 2001...
"Why not give all these extraneous chickens a home at the Detention Center and start an egg farm operated by
Proud inmates who need an occupation and who need job training? The money made would help support the Sheriff's Dept. and would replace an air conditioned ride to the St. Petersburg area for our pampered poultry people. Wouldn't we be proud of such a self-supporting criminal justice system?"
Chick June 27, 2001...
"Instead of taking the chickens out of the town, I would take some of the local chicken transplants from the '80s out of town because you are just messing it up for the rest of us. Chickens don't hurt anybody. If you can't sleep with the chickens, buy some ear plugs."
Chick December 10, 2001...
"The chickens are back. For a while there was peace and quiet in our streets, but the howling and screeching of chickens is coming back. The city did a good job of  clearing some of them out and we hope that they will finish the job to keep [Conch Republic] clean, green and healthy."
Chick August 20, 2002...
"This is a response to the person who obviously does not like the chickens. If they would stop and look around, animals and people - especially people - carry diseases. The chickens were here first, and if you don't like the chickens, why don't you go back where you came from."
Chick November 24, 2002...
"The chickens are on the rise. They're cock-a-doodle-doing in every residential neighborhood, around every food store, restaurant, garbage Dumpster and our only airport. It's time for the health department, FAA or any city official to run them out of [Conch Republic] before we're overcome with whatever chickens cause, including sleep deprivation."
Chick January 03, 2003...
"Get rid of the chickens and prepare for the invasion of cockroaches and scorpions."

"To sleep with the roosters in [Conch Republic]
, we closeconch-a-doodle-doo windows, wear ear plugs and take sleeping pills. It would be better to get rid of the chickens."

"There ought to be a 
[Conch Republic] Association of Chicken Keepers who would keep chickens from the crossing the road and out of the trees."
Chick   February 01, 2003...
I read in today's Citizen about 'from menace to mascot,' where they are relocating a lot of the roosters and chickens in Key West to other states, other cities. I think they need to round up all the raccoons. In Porter Place, there are zillions of raccoons all over -- small, large, medium, any size. ... [Conch Republic] has become a wildlife haven, with deer, chickens, roosters, cockroaches -- you name it, it is in [Conch Republic]."

"I just want to say, what's up with these chickens? I baked them at 350 degrees for 16 hours and they're kind of tough and stringy. It seems like somebody should do something about these birds. Is it going to take one of my children choking to death to prompt action on the part of this Conch Republic?"

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Letters to the Editor
Chick December 29, 2000...
"On one hand the city states that dog poop is not
Dancing Chick allowed. And on the other hand they allow chicken poop everywhere.
Chickens who are protected by our noble city can go on lawns, streets, sidewalks, trash cans, benches and even cars. There are more than a dozen adult chickens living on my street. On a good day those foul fowl can do a real number on my street that would make a pack of Great Danes proud.
From my gardening experience I have learned that while dog poop is relatively benign, chicken poop is one of the most potent fertilizers on the planet. Perhaps these scofflaws are wondering why their city wants them to pick up after dogs and at the same time the city wants them to step in, smell, and breathe a much more toxic poop.
I suppose it has something to do with tourists."

Chick March 12, 2001...
"There is a big difference between free-roaming chickens and caged chickens.
Chickens being flocking birds, those kept isolated in cages will certainly call out much more often, hoping to attract company, while the free-roaming chickens eat scorpions and palmetto bugs, and do a good job of cleaning up organic matter in the streets.
For instance, I once saw one clean up a dropped french fry in less than 30 seconds. Free-roaming chickens will not leave blessings on your head or your car like seagulls, pelicans and buzzards, and they're a whole lot prettier than pigeons. They must have evolved to be pretty smart, too, to have survived hurricanes, traffic, hawks, cats, dogs and even the occasional hungry local.
To those who complain about the crowing of chickens, I would advise you that the chickens have been here more than 200 years, and have seniority. If you invested a fortune in real estate without checking out the environment you were moving into, you are indeed one of Mr. P.T. Barnum's people. You're like those who buy near an airport and complain about the noise. The real estate people love you, but you irritate me.
So, the short answer to the chicken question is simple: If you have caged chickens, set them free and they will quiet down. If you don't like the chickens, leave. They were here first. And if you listen closely, you'll hear that these are the only chickens in the world that say "conch-a-doodle-doo.""

Mermaid
Chick March 20, 2001...
It's finally time to get serious about the chicken problem in our community. In case you hadn't noticed, chickens and roosters inhabit nearly every comer [the Conch Republic] Island.
The final straw for me was when chickens were deliberately released at the end of Government Road and have now invaded Little Hamaca Park and portions of the salt ponds. The introduction of these domestic birds into environmentally sensitive areas is a potential disaster. Chickens pose a threat to native plants and animals. They scratch and dig up seeds and young plants. They compete for food and drive out other ground-dwelling birds and animals.
Chick 04 Traditionally there has been a few chickens and roosters in the area of Old Town. They might be annoying to some people, but they are generally harmless.
The problem now is there are too many chickens and they are in places where they don't belong.
The city ordinance is straightforward: Chickens must be kept in an enclosure, their food has to be covered, and their poop has to be cleaned up. This was no arbitrary rule; it was designed to protect the public health. This critical mass of chickens greatly magnifies the health risks. We can no longer afford to ignore the law.
Chickens carry bacterial diseases like salmonella, parasitic diseases like coccidia, and viral diseases.
They are a reservoir for St. Louis encephalitis, which is the reason they are kept in sentinel flocks to test for this virus. Chicken poop provides a rich culture medium for fungus. Chicken dander is hazardous to asthmatics and people with allergies. Chickens frequently have lice and disease transmissible to wild birds.
There are other public health risks associated with chickens having the run of the island. They can disrupt traffic like the Muscovy ducks we used to see trying to cross Flagler Avenue. Kids and dogs love to chase chickens, sometimes right out into the street. The refuse around their feeding areas attract rats, raccoons, feral cats and other predators.
Let's face it, some people don't like to hear roosters crow all night or chase chickens out of the garden all day. When the chicken density is this high the incidence of animal abuse and cruelty is bound to increase.
Most of the people that I've talked to in our community have begun to recognize the problem. So what should be done about it?
My plea to public officials is simple: uphold the law. Public health should be top priority. People who keep chickens need to follow the rules.
I am proposing we capture the birds overrunning our parks and green spaces and have them relocated. (They belong on a farm, not in an urban area.) This solution is best for us, for native plants and animals, and probably even for the chickens.
Chick July 16, 2001 ...
We here at the Wildlife Rescue of the Florida Keys would like to say thank you for the support we received during the first stage of the chicken relocation project.
I should also thank the staff members and volunteers here at Wildlife Rescue for working double duty, not only helping with the chickens, but still caring for injured local wildlife.
I would like to clear up a few misconceptions about this project. First, we do not want to eradicate the entire chicken population in [Conch Republic], simply to aid in finding good homes for those birds being thinned out by the city.
Henne03 Secondly, we are not the official chicken catchers. City employees are catching the birds. We have been keeping an active list of complaint areas, and we share this information with the chicken catchers. So for those of you who sent in donations, along with chicken complaints, you have not been forgotten.
On a happier note, I'm pleased to inform you that the first trip to Tampa Bay with our feathered friends was a huge success. All 55 birds that made the trip arrived healthy, and a few of the hens even laid eggs along the way. The folks that showed up to adopt the birds seemed truly delighted to add a [Conch Republic] "gypsy" chicken to their family. The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is already screening calls for the next "Chicken Lift."
So let me end with a big thank you to everyone involved with the chicken relocation. It is only through the caring of the community that such a project can continue.
Navy Comando Royal Navy Navy Comando
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More Letters To The Citizen's Editor

Chick Letters to the editor Friday, January 04, 2002...
Stop those hurting chickens!Mad Chick

It breaks my heart. I love my chickens. I am a law-abiding chicken keeper. I keep them in cages, treat them well, observe good hygiene, and I put them indoors at night so their crowing won't annoy the neighbors.

One of my most treasured banty roosters - Little Prince - is either dead, upstate, or running ragged in the streets near the George Allen apartments.

People live there who hate chickens. They frequently call the Citizen's Voice column to complain about them. They also stone them, poison them, call the city to remove them, even run dogs on them, beat them with sticks and shoot them with pellet guns. How does a treasured rooster wind up where he is so abhorred?

[Someone] stole my Prince from inside my store and took him in the mangroves or a vacant lot and maybe dubbed and fought him. If he survived, they maybe tried to sell him to a guy from Miami, or took him to George Allen. If he was lucky, security or somebody's parents - realizing he was stolen - made them let him go, so he could be beaten up by the bigger roosters and chased down the side streets.

The side streets near George Allen is where I have caught and removed more "nuisance roosters" than I can count over the past three years. Waves of them just keep coming. Why? Because Chicken Boys bring them. These boys have no supervision; nothing better to do.

The same thing is happening in Bahama Village, Northside Drive, Porter Place, and Stock Island. A Big Coppitt Chicken Boy recently told me the roadside chickens by U.S. 1 on Boca Chica are "his." I go out of my way to feed them, so they won't panhandle in traffic and cause an accident. I can't catch them: chickens traumatized by Chicken Boys are terrified of everyone. What is the city doing about these Chicken Boys?

Nothing. The city is trying to round up their victims and send them to Tampa. It costs the city up to 100 tax dollars per chicken.

The Chicken Roundup will not end any time soon. There are still idiots like myself who believe in observing city law and caging our chickens. The 12 or 15 Chicken Boys who hold this town hostage are not good at recapturing "their" loose chickens, but our caged chickens, to them, are like fish-in-a-barrel.

Many an owner has mourned to me the loss of beloved pet chickens. My $50 reward for the safe return of my darling Little Prince has brought no results.

Why don't we round up and deport all the gays, to end gay bashing? Ban tourists, to end tourist-related crimes? Is this really the logical way to solve the problems caused by a few rotten apples?
Katha Sheehan, aka "Chicken Lady"
Dancing Chick   Dancing Chick Dancing Chick Dancing Chick  Dancing Chick Dancing Chick Dancing Chick
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