Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Chicken Sheriff

After I wrote about our neighbor's free-ranging chickens, I decided it was time to call in reinforcements.
I called the city where we receive our mail. I was referred to the police department.
I called the police department.
I was referred to the sheriff's office.
I called the sheriff's office.
I was put on hold.
I was transferred to another person.
I was put on hold again.
I was transferred.
Finally, someone agreed to listen to my grievance about the chickens who peck, squack, cluck, crow, and poop indiscriminately all over our neighborhood.
That person said she was not the right person to handle my problem, but she would absolutely take a message and give it to the person who *is* the right person, and she would be sure to have him call me as soon as possible. At that point, I asked if she would llike to give him my phone number. She laughed lightly and said of course, that might be helpful, just in case he, you know, wanted to call me back.
I carried my cell phone around in my hand for the next three hours, convinced that he would be calling any time now.
He didn't call.
The next day, I put on shorts with pockets, so I could carry my cell phone around, just in case he called.
He didn't call.
Five days later, when we were nearly two hundred miles from home, spending a couple of days with daughter and her family, and I had pretty much forgotten about the sheriff, he called.
I had put him so far out of my mind that I couldn't remember for a minute what it was I had called about. You know how it is...chickens out of sight, chickens out of mind.
Finally, my brain kicked in, and I explained my problem. He sighed faintly, and asked where we live.
I started explaining.
When you live on a lake, you don't just give your address. You have to explain where your house is, relative to the town where you get mail, and describe where the section is that you live in, and where your neighbor lives relative to where you live.
But as soon as I launched into my explanation, he said," I think I know who you are talking about."
I said, oh, have you had dealings with him in the past?
Another sigh, not so faint this time.
"uhm...yes, ma'am. We know your neighbor. Quite well."
This is not a good sign.
After I reiterated that I have nothing personally against chickens, but I don't want them wandering around my place, pooping and crowing, he sighed heavily.
"Well, ma'am..... there is a leash law for dogs, and a pen restriction for pigs, but chickens....chickens, now.....there just isn't a law about them."
No leash law for chickens.
Who knew?
So after this discouraging comment, I thought for a few seconds, and then asked what would happen if I ... um.... sort of accidentally shot them or ran over them with the lawn mower.
He sighed.
Then he said, "It just don't seem fair, somehow, but if you destroy the man's chickens, he...well...he has rights to his property and livestock, you know."

The long and short of this story is that he doesn't have to keep his chickens penned, but if I do something that results in diminishing the chickenn population on *my* place, the said neighbor could file charges against *me*.

At this point I sighed.

I thanked the sheriff for his "help" and hung up.

And started this post.

Anybody have a bird dog I could borrow for a few nights?