There’s a fowl situation in Florida. Officials in Key West are cracking down on people who feed a group of feral chickens famous for wandering the island — saying the popular poultry are getting too plump and causing a public health nuisance. An ordinance
Published: 2021-01-22 01:47 pm
Key West officials plan crackdown on people who feed feral chickens
nypost.com

There’s a fowl situation in Florida.

Officials in Key West are cracking down on people who feed a group of feral chickens famous for wandering the island — saying the popular poultry are getting too plump and causing a public health nuisance.

An ordinance unanimously approved by city lawmakers Wednesday would levy fines ranging from $250 to $500 to anyone caught feeding the birds, according to the Miami Herald.

The measure, which states chickens can “carry and spread diseases, destroy property, and cause copious amounts of fecal deposits on public property,” must pass a second vote before becoming law.

Residents complained to City Commissioner Mary Lou Hoover that they’ve been attacked by chickens while disposing of dog waste, because the birds think it might be food, according to the report.

“They’re becoming more aggressive by the day,” Hoover said.

Many consider the free-roaming birds to be part of the island outpost’s counterculture charm.

However what is charming to some is a health crisis and nuisance to others, as the aggressive birds feast on popcorn and French fries out of the hands of tourists and locals and litter public and private property with their bodily waste.

“The fowl have a feast,” said City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, who sponsored the measure. “They can pick and choose better than we can what they eat off their plate.”

(image)
Key West is considering a law that would make it illegal to feed the chickens that freely roam the city.
Wilfredo Lee/AP

Patricia Eables, an assistant Monroe County attorney, told the Herald her neighbor overfeeds the birds several times a day, causing them to defecate on stairs, handrails, cars and other surfaces.

“We have done everything we can as neighbors to try to get her to stop doing it,” Eables said.

The lawyer tells the Herald she has counted 43 chickens, blackbirds and pigeons outside her home at one time.

There is no shortage of natural food for the fowls on the bug-rich island, according to Tom Sweets, executive director of the Key West Wildlife Center.

Officials hope that a ban on feeding the chickens will balance out the pecking order in the Conch Republic.

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