Several weeks ago, my office started getting calls from concerned Mpls chicken owners. They had noticed a proposed ban on roosters in the city, and wanted to know whose idea it was.
My office asked Council Member Don Samuels' office about this, as Don was listed as the author. They pointed us to the Animal Care & Control staff, who had included the proposed ban in a list of amendments to the animal ordinances. Don was listed as author by dint of being Public Safety & Regulatory Services Committee (PS&RS) Chair.
When we asked staff what the rationale was for the proposed ban, we heard it was about crowing. Staff had received some complaints about roosters crowing, but felt that they could not respond if the rooster is permitted.
However, they could not provide me with the number of complaints, which had not been tracked. Additionally, the current ordinance requires chicken owners to get 80% of their neighbors within 100 feet of their property to sign a petition expressing their willingness to live near chickens. One does not have to do this for a dog, for instance, so there are safeguards that allow neighbors to keep crowing roosters off their blocks. And if a given rooster owner doesn't have a permit, that's already a violation of the ordinance.
Another reason to oppose the ban came from Chicken Run Rescue owner Mary Britton Clouse: even for experts and Animal Care and Control staff, it can be hard to tell the sex of a chick. That cute little yellow ball may grow up to crow. If the ban had gone through, a certain number of juvenile chickens would have to be impounded or given up for adoption every year - and many would likely be killed.
I talked to Don, and he agreed to move to withdraw the proposed ban. You can read some of his comments to the Star Tribune here. My office communicated this to the chicken enthusiasts who had contacted us, and they were thrilled, but still sent in formal statements opposing the ban.
At committee yesterday, Don's motion passed unanimously. (Look here, and scroll down to item 14.) Minneapolis roosters are safe.