TAMPA (FOX 13) - Two weeks ago at a Tampa City Council meeting, we learned Ybor City’s rooster population was thinning out.
Officials said hawks were likely the culprit, but after a beloved rooster named Colonel was found dead Tuesday, others are pointing the finger at a new predator – humans.
"He was found in a condition that made it obvious that he had been killed by a person as opposed to an animal,” the head of the Ybor Chicken Society, Dylan Breese said.
Chickens can be found all over Ybor City, but a place that you can always find them is at Centennial Park. Breese says it was here that Colonel was found dead, and the weapon was still on the scene.
“There was something used to harm him and it was near his body,” Breese said.
Daniel Bryant, who frequents the park, says he’s seen people attempt to harm chickens before.
“And as soon as somebody does that, someone advises them that, ‘Hey, the roosters are protected, they have more protection than you do,'” Bryant said.
“Any bird within any city limits is protected under the Tampa Bird Sanctuary law,” Breese said. "They’re protected from harm, harassment, trapping, chasing, anything of that nature.”
Colonel’s death comes at a time of controversy for Ybor City’s chickens.
Just last month, the city council discussed the possibility of dropping protections for Ybor chickens over complaints from some residents that they’re messy and noisy.
Breese fought back against that idea.
Now he’s focused on finding out who killed the most famous Ybor City chicken of all, and why.