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Neighbors have had enough cock-a-doodle-doos, want roosters banned

The Des Moines City Council on Monday postponed a vote on a plan to ban backyard roosters after urban chicken farmers protested. Neighbors who support the ban say they can't go outdoors anymore because of all the crowing.
The Des Moines City Council on Monday postponed a vote on a plan to ban backyard roosters after urban chicken farmers protested. Neighbors who support the ban say they can't go outdoors anymore because of all the crowing. The Kansas City Star

A proposal to ban backyard roosters in Des Moines, Iowa has ruffled a lot of feathers.

The city council avoided making a decision on the controversial issue by putting the plan on hold Monday, the Des Moines Register reported.

At issue: Too much cock-a-doodle-doo for some residents.

"The cacophony of noise is distressing and has made my going outdoors no longer enjoyable," resident Martha Swanson told council members.

She said her neighbor's rooster crows every 20 seconds from "4:30 in the morning until well past evening," the Register reported.

Urban farmers argue that a ban is unnecessary because Des Moines already has an ordinance that addresses noise and smell.

Resident Allison Stuart tried to find middle ground. She said she used to have a rooster but got rid of it because of a noise complaint.

"Well, I understand if it’s irritating to people,” Stuart told KCCI in Des Moines. “I think it’s reasonable for them to, you know, not want to have that.”

On the other hand, "a lot of people said, ‘Well, we have to listen to barking dogs, so a rooster is kind of a nice change,'" she said.

Chicken owners argued to council members that roosters crowing is, in fact, no different from barking dogs - they're all sounds of the city.

“Am I coming to you tonight to outlaw … to ask that we outlaw dogs?” rooster owner Breann Bye said to council members, according to KCCI. “Oh my goodness, I would be vilified in the community. No.”

From March 2017 to March 2018 the Animal Rescue League of Iowa responded to 55 rooster crowing-related noise complaints, local media reported. The city contracts with the league to provide animal control services.

In that same time period, it responded to 544 complaints about barking dogs.

Sgt. Jim Butler, the city's chief humane officer, told the city council that although barking dogs generate more noise complaints, male chickens are causing a big problem in town, the Register reported. Banning them would "free an enormous amount of time (our officers) spend going on rooster calls," Butler said.

City council members decided not to let the chickens come home to roost Monday night, voting 6-0 to revamp the proposed ordinance at a future workshop, the Register reported.

In a Facebook post Monday, the Animal Rescue League opposed any rooster ban.

It suggested more talking, less clucking.

“We look at pet chickens the same way we look at all other pets: creating ordinances that enhance responsible ownership is more successful than restricting or banning a species or breed," it wrote.

"Additionally, often times neighborhood conflicts involving animals can most easily and effectively be resolved by neighbors speaking with each other."

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