2 ROOSTERS ARE ROUSTING COURT BATTLE
RUFFLED FEATHERS: HEALTH DEPARTMENT CLEARED UP CROWING COMPLAINT. BUT NEIGHBOR DIDN’T THINK SO.
A Tuesday morning trial may determine who gets top crowing rights on Vine Street - the Robbins family's two roosters, or a neighbor who has complained repeatedly about the crowing cocks.
Joy Robbins, 1050 E. Vine, said she thought the battle had ended when the Salt Lake City/County Health Department ruled in 1988 that her family's rooster, Cocka-Doddle, could keep his place of residence in the family's back yard. That decision followed a complaint from one of the Robbins' neighbors who tried to get the health department to ban the banty because the rooster was bothering him by doing what roosters do best: crowing.Cocka-Doodle is no longer in the picture - he disappeared one week after the health department determined the Robbins home, which is in an area close to WheelerFarm and is zoned to allow farm animals, was an acceptable place to keep a rooster. "They said we could keep 50 roosters if we wanted," Robbins said of the health department's ruling.
The family didn't want 50 roosters but they did replace Cocka-Doodle with two new roosters - neither of which have names. They bought two this time in case something suspicious happened again to cause a disappearance from the chicken coop.
But the same neighbor, according to Robbins, has now pursued a criminal complaint and convinced the county attorney's office to pursue Class B misdemeanor charges against the Robbinses for having a nuisance animal.
"The health department complaint was one thing, and we thought that was over with," she said. "But being charged with a criminal offense is intimidating."
The 8 a.m. Tuesday trial is scheduled before Justice Court Judge Joanne Rigby.
Proximity is a major problem, as Robbins sees it. The condominiums where the complaining neighbor lives were built several years ago adjacent to the Robbinses' fence - and near the chicken coop. The coop could be moved, but Robbins doesn't believe her family should have to pay for the relocation. The neighbor might also consider buying a dark shade to keep the roosters from crowing when he turns lights on in the middle of the night, she suggested.