STYLE

Cock-a-doodle ado in Oregon: Couple faces up to $3,000 in fines for crowing rooster

11/19/2014 04:43 EST | Updated 01/19/2015 05:59 EST
CORNELIUS, Ore. - It was just the first of Mr. Rooster's problems that he was first believed to be a Ms.

His crowing has given him away, though, and his owners in Cornelius, Oregon, have been dinged six times in five months for violating city ordinances.

At a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Dan and Megan Keller could be fined as much as $3,000.

Megan Keller told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1yTecdO) that she thought she was buying two females at Easter time in 2012 for her granddaughters to show at 4-H.

But there was a shipping mix-up that became evident as Mr. Rooster grew up.

Keller said, though, that the birds had arrived during a tough patch in her life, and "those two brought me a lot of comfort."

Cornelius is a western Portland suburb of about 12,000 people proclaimed on its website as "an agricultural paradise, where rolling hillsides, vineyards and farms abound."

The town doesn't, as other cities do, ban roosters outright. But it has an ordinance against animals that annoy or disturb neighbours.

In June, a neighbour complained about Mr. Rooster. In August, a judge handed down a $250 fine and ordered that the bird get a new home.

Keller sent Mr. Rooster to a farm owned by friends. Along went the other bird from the 2012 shipment, known as Mrs. Rooster.

Megan Keller said that didn't go well: The birds lost their feathers, and then a hawk attack left Mrs. Rooster dead and Mr. Rooster injured.

So she retrieved Mr. Rooster.

As the injured bird rested his head calmly on her shoulder recently, Keller said she's sure she did the right thing: "Who would I be if I would have left him up there?"

Keller has outfitted the bird with a rooster collar, a snug-fitting band that restricts vocal cord movement and turns his crow into an elongated belch. Mr. Rooster has been exiled to an upstairs bathroom during prime crowing time. But he still crows outside a few times a day.

Still, Keller said she hopes the steps she's taken will avert fines and other sanctions while she tries to get the city's noise amendment changed. "I hope I'm not just being naive," she said.

The neighbour, Rose Iverson, declined to comment, except to confirm that she had reported the rooster several times and that she believes Keller won't win in court.

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