Why the chicken crossed the road

TwiztedAngel

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Jun 27, 2014
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Because it's legal in Bastrop, Texas

For a three block stretch in the Central Texas town of Bastrop, more than 200 chickens roam the streets, stop traffic and attract tourists.

“The chickens have first choice at the road,” Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus said.

The flock of birds have wandered the streets of Bastrop for as long as anyone can remember. In 2009, the city received complaints about the chickens and as a result tried to round them up with intent to euthanize them.

“They told me that the were going to catch them and euthanize them,” Bastrop resident Regina Holland said, “and we didn't want that to happen.”

Holland and her neighbors went to city council demanding sanctuary status for the birds. Soon after, the mayor created an ordinance declaring the three blocks of Farm Street a “Historic Chicken Sanctuary”, giving the animals legal rights.

“They are not owned by anyone. They are totally free range, and they found a nice little spot to live,” Kesselus said. “So, we don't molest them. We don't collect them. We let them go and be a part of the town.”

Since 2009, Kesselus says the chickens have multiplied and started wandering into town away from the sanctuary.

“They’ve gone across the railroad track and have gone into the other parts of town where not everybody wants them,” Kesselus said. “So our animal control officer has to go catch them in yards where they are not wanted or run in the street too much.”

Once the birds stray away from the sanctuary, Kesselus said they are no longer protected and are considered “fair game”.


A few of the people who live on Farm Street have stepped in to take care of the chickens—feeding them twice a day, giving them water, and reminding passing cars to slow down.

“It’s not so much my responsibility. It’s more of a duty—it’s what needs to be done,” Bastrop resident Jane Campos said. “I mean, you wouldn’t leave an animal without water or food, and you can’t leave chickens. They’re just like any other animal. You can’t leave them without water and food.
 
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