Tampa City Council takes aim at Ybor chickens

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You could call them Ybor City’s official mascots. For many people, the wild chickens add to the charm of the area. They even have their own advocacy group, the Ybor Chickens Society.

“This is a part of the culture and history of this neighborhood,” said Ybor Chickens Society founder Dylan Breese. “It makes us definitely unique, it draws people in.”

Some folks think the feathered flocks are a hazard, complaining about the fowl messing up landscaping and making noise. There are even reports of people dumping their unwanted roosters in Ybor.

“They are roaming the street, they are becoming a nuisance in that community,” said Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick at the council's May 17 meeting.

Tampa has a bird sanctuary otdinance on the books that makes it illegal for anyone to injure, trap, or kill any wild birds, including Ybor’s famous chickens.

However, Tampa City Council is exploring whether it can get rid of the rules protecting the roosters.

“I don’t care if they're a rooster, hen, duck or whatever,” Reddick said. “We got to do something about these roosters in Ybor City.”

It’s an idea a lot of people are fighting. An online petition already has about 2,000 signatures, mostly from locals who want to work with leaders to control the bird populations without changing the bird sanctuary ordinance.

“There are more humane ways to control the population than letting people trap or potentially harm them,” said Breese.

Staff members are set to report to Tampa City Council about the roosters and the ordinance at this Thursday’s meeting.