September 17, 2013

Oakland officials drop fine proposal for noisy roosters

By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling
Staff Writer

OAKLAND — Roosters can continue to crow unmolested in town, following a vote by the Town Council to table a proposal to fine the owners of noisy birds.

More than a dozen residents attended last week’s council meeting to protest the idea of fining owners of noisy roosters. That authority would have been added to an ordinance that already allows the town to impose $100 fines on the owners of barking dogs.

One person at the meeting, teenager Ethan Pullen, presented a petition that he said contained 65 signatures from Oakland residents who were opposed to the move.

“Roosters are important because we like to show our chickens in the fairs, but you can’t buy a chicken that you can show,” he said. “You have to breed them, and in order to breed, you need a rooster.”

Councilors first considered adding roosters to the local ordinances because of noise complaints involving a particular homeowner, who was not named, near the intersection of Summer Street and Town Farm Road.

Town Manager Peter Nielsen said the town’s animal control officer, Pat Faucher, visited the rooster’s owner to discuss possible solutions to the issue.

According to Nielsen, the man, who owned four roosters, has since given three of them away, which appears to have solved the problem.

Residents of that area who were present at the meeting reported that the noise had diminished greatly.

In recent years, more and more people in residential areas have sought permission to keep laying hens, a byproduct of a growing local food movement, according to the Maine Municipal Association.

While many of the state’s largest communities have allowed their residents to keep limited numbers of hens, the noisier roosters have been a sticking point in some cases.

The vote by the Town Council to table the rooster issue indefinitely in Oakland was unanimous.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling — 861-9287

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