Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Help Me Howard: Crowing Rooster
Does a city or county have to enforce its own ordinance? Can it say, 'Sorry we don't have the money so there is nothing we can do'? That's what one Miami family is asking Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN-- Cities like Miami attract people because of the weather, the shops, restaurants and, of course, the neighborhoods.
Vivian De Armas: "Neighbors very friendly. I know the neighbors on both sides of us and the back."
But the De Armas have one neighbor you only see out in the country.
Vivian De Armas: "He is very loud, and he decides to start crowing at 3:30 a.m."
One rooster, three hens and every day an early wake-up call for some neighbors.
Vivian De Armas: "And they all have problems. All of them are losing sleep because of this."
No one owns the chickens, they wandered in a month ago. Since Miami does not allow roosters, Vivian called code enforcement and her city commissioner and was told by both offices there was nothing the city could do.
Octavio De Armas: "But yet we pay taxes, and for my taxes I expect something to be done."
The neighbors were told to get rid of the rooster themselves. They tried a net to out-quick the rooster. It failed.
Octavio De Armas: "They are very fast. They are very, very quick animals."
Vivian brought out a dog cage to outsmart the old boy.
Vivian De Armas: "And here I am like a crazy lady with the cage here and a little rope and bird food in the cage to see if they would come in and I could catch them. They are too smart."
A smart game rooster, who knows to fly up if people get near.
Vivian De Armas: "He just hangs in there. He just crows his heart out."
As he crows, the neighbors wake up frustrated and sleepy.
Vivian De Armas: "I have been so desperate that I have had to get sleeping pills and buy earplugs."
Normally people brag about a slice of the country in the city. These Miami residents don't want a 3:30 wake up call.
Vivian De Armas: "I would like for the City of Miami to enforce the city ordinance."
This is just a rooster and some hens, but it brings up a bigger issue, affecting every taxpayer.
Does a city or county have to enforce their own ordinances, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes, the city has to enforce their own laws but the way the ordinance, the owner to the rooster has to remove it. However, the ordinance has a hole in it and since no one owns the rooster, there is no one to enforce the law against, and the ordinance doesn't require the city to do it themselves."
I then called code enforcement and the commissioner who represents that area. Their spokespeople basically said the same thing. Due to budget cuts, the city cannot afford to send someone out to capture the rooster. One city official suggested the residents get together and hire a pest removal company. Of course, the residents have pointed out that's why they pay so much in taxes to the City of Miami, to take care of violations like this. Odds are a neighbor will now try to kill the rooster, but Howard says be careful.
Howard Finkelstein: "While there is no law prohibiting you from killing a rooster, there is a law that stops you from doing it in an inhumane way, but the law doesn't explain a humane way to kill the animal, so if you do it, you could go to jail."
The law won't allow you to keep a rooster, the law may come after you if you try to get rid of it. Welcome to South Florida.
Vivian De Armas: "You kidding me? It's very odd, I mean, I didn't move here to deal with roosters."
Patrick Fraser: "So, farm animals are banned in Miami right? No. You can't have roosters, but you can have hens if you get a permit, and by the way, if you can catch a nice game rooster, give me a call, I know some neighbors that would welcome you."
Troubles ruling the roost in your life? Wanna capture a solution? Contact us, we're nothing to crow about, but we won't lay an egg when it comes to the law.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD: