A Forest Park man has run a-fowl of the law and his neighbors, who are tired of his rooster’s incessant crowing.
The man, who simply identified himself as Mr. Ed — “You know, like the horse” — was spotted in the parking lot of the Oak Park Township Senior Services building, 130 S. Oak Park Ave., on Friday afternoon, July 10 with a “rooster on a leash,” as one eyewitness described it.
In fact, Mr. Ed, 70, was meeting a friend who could hook him up with a Velcro rooster collar.
Why a Velcro collar, you ask? Because according to the all-knowing Internet, a Velcro collar is basically Kryptonite for a rooster.
“I was either going to have to put him down or give him away, and on the Internet it says how to stop a rooster from crowing,” he explained.
Asked if the technique was working, Mr. Ed responded, “Well, at the moment.”
But there was no one around to enjoy the silence, he said. Certainly not Mr. Ed’s neighbors, who called the Forest Park police on him on Thursday after they got fed up with the unnamed rooster’s incessant cock-a-doodle-doo-ing.
Forest Park Police Chief Tom Aftanas confirmed in a phone interview that it is illegal to “keep or allow to be kept anywhere within the village any cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, ducks, geese, chickens or any other poultry except birds or pigeons used for exhibition or sporting purposes.”
Aftanas said officers dispatched Thursday to the scene of the outlaw rooster issued a warning to Mr. Ed. Had he been cited, Aftanas said, it would have been up to an administrative judge to determine the amount of the fine.
“It’s usually $75,” he said, noting that police are called out on rooster complaints every few years, but there was only one other case that he could recall.
Mr. Ed said he came into possession of the rooster and five chickens about six months ago while visiting a friend’s farm in Michigan.
“They started out these cute little fuzzy things,” he said.
The lifelong Forest Park resident said it’s not the first time a farmhouse bird has gotten him into some trouble.
“When I was a small kid, maybe 8-11 years old, I had two chickens, and I remember driving to the farm to get rid of them because Mom and Dad didn’t want them in the house anymore,” he recalled.
Mr. Ed might be headed out to that farm again after a return visit from the rooster patrol.
Aftanas contacted the Wednesday Journal newsroom Friday afternoon with an update.
“The case has been closed,” he said with a chuckle. “The officer and the complainant confirmed that the chickens are gone.”
That might be good news for Mr. Ed, who already was having second thoughts about the whole venture.
“I am 70 years old now and maybe this was a bad idea,” he said.