Police Abuse Even a Threat for Backyard Chickens Now


David Phillips/Flickr

Why did the chicken cross the road? Perhaps to get away from psychopathic cops. It seems that police brutality has even come to the chicken coop these days.

Last month, the police chief of Atwater, Minnesota, responded to complaints about a family's pet chickens by beating and beheading one of them with a shovel. Outraged Atwater residents gathered this week to address the situation—by demanding that the tiny rural community continue to criminalize keeping chickens and ducks. 

Right now, keeping these animals is a misdemanor offense in Atwater, according to Fox Minneapolis-St. Paul. It also seems the brutal execution of your animals is fair game; Chief Trevor Berger insisted he killed the chicken out of concerns for public health. 

At a city council meeting Wednesday, "it was clear that even the suggestion of changing the ordinance to allow chickens to move in has a lot residents clucking their tongues," Fox reports. This despite the fact that the change city council was considering would still have required any would-be chicken keepers to get permission from neighbors, obtain a city permit, and follow an array of other rules. I guess this is just to remind you that there are actually people who find keeping chickens and ducks on your own fenced-in, small-town property—with the permission of neighbors—more objectionable than cops decapitating a little boy's chicken with a shovel. 

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  1. “Let’s hold a memorial service for the chicken. Open-coffin. I’ll bring the fryer.”

    1. open casket.

  2. Suddenly craving chicken wings for some reason.

  3. Somebody has a rooster in my neighborhood. I’m not sure who, but I’m pretty sure it’s the same pieces of shit that put up a fence that blocks a public alleyway. I’m not sure where people get the idea that roosters only crow in the morning, but this thing never stops crowing. It greatly reduces my ability to enjoy my time in my backyard and am more than willing to let a police officer hack its little head off with a shovel. I’d do it myself, but why not let somebody who is above the law do it?

  4. As a libertarian I’m generally against state violence, but as a person who has smelled chicken shit…

    1. We have some urban farmers in the neighborhood. I’ve never noticed an odor problem, if they take care of them. And you don’t have to have a rooster to get eggs, only more chickens.

      I think these laws are more like the law against speeding; it should only be considered illegal if they are impinging on someone else. Legislating politeness is impossible, so only punish the assholes who really go out of their way to be a nuisance.

  5. you can have chickens in my neighborhood without a permit as long as the coop is 200′ away from every other structure. effectively chickens have been zoned out of my town.

  6. …would still have required any would-be chicken keepers to get permission from neighbors

    Can I have a law that requires my wife to get permission from me? Little chicks for easter she says. It will be a great learning experience for the young’ins, she insists.

    But who is out feeding the damn things at 7am in the winter? Dad.

  7. I though this was about a cockfight. Disappointed.

    1. Well, it sorta was. Cock 1: the chicken. Cock 2: the cop.

  8. I enjoy my chickens, but I don’t delude myself into thinking the eggs are “free”. I probably pay over $5 dozen when everything is factored in. I second the above about not even needing a rooster for eggs. I live in a rural area, where a rooster would be no big deal, but I don’t keep them because of the noise and they can be pretty mean.

    1. We have ducks for eggs. Pretty economical because they are great foragers. We get a ton of eggs. The kids like to eat hardboiled egg and cheese sandwiches with bbq sauce. Seems Gross to me, but at least they are eating the eggs.

  9. Chop the Gawd Damned sleep disturbing, sunrise announcing chicken’s friggin’ head off. Thank you. No, there shouldn’t be a law against keeping chickens, and no one should be too disturbed when you walk next door with your hatchet and shut the little clucker up for good.

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