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News from Key West

From Keysnet.com:

State-licensed animal trapper Chris Guinto has a plan to drive at least some of Key West’s gypsy chickens from the island.

Guinto says he is planning a Sunday chicken roundup in the Southernmost City. Guinto has organized similar events in the past but was having misgivings this year.

“Initially, we weren’t going to do it because there’s so many chicken advocates out there,” he says. “We were having issues with threatening phone calls.”

But in the end, Guinto decided to go ahead and rekindle the roundup, which last year resulted in 236 chickens caught in just one day.

“We might break that record this year. We’ll see,” he says.

Guinto estimates that in the Lower Keys, there are between 8,000 and 12,000 so-called gypsy chickens.

As news of the planned roundup created somewhat of a buzz around town earlier in the month, the city of Key West reacted via a notice sent out by spokeswoman Alyson Crean.

Crean wrote, “The city is working to contact the private business organizing the roundup in order to make it clear that Key West does not condone deadly force against chickens. In fact, the city has invested in an environmentally sound aviary at the Key West Wildlife Center.”

The birds that are taken to the Wildlife Center are periodically taken to a chicken farm in Eustis, slightly northwest of Orlando, where the chickens retire, so to speak, and live out their days safely.

In early 2008, the city reaffirmed the rules when it comes to chickens. Basically, if you’re feeding a chicken, the bird is considered domesticated. From that follows that if the bird is domesticated, then the person feeding it is responsible for caging the bird on their property.

In 2004, the city hired a staff chicken catcher — a barber, actually — to quell resident complaints about crowing-induced insomnia.

Since then, “It has kind of gone to a more private thing,” Crean says. “Keeping track of the numbers has kind of fallen through the cracks.”

Anyone who wants to get involved in Guinto’s Sunday roundup can call him at 896-5572.

Margaret Soltan, April 15, 2009 11:23PM
Posted in: snapshots from key west

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2 Responses to “News from Key West”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    Some gypsy dogs would take care of the gypsy chickens right quick, and for free, too.

  2. Bonzo Says:

    Don’t think of them as gypsy chickens. Think of them as a source of raw material for making lipstick:

    Aurum de stercore (gold from dung) is an interesting concept explored by Primo Levi in the Periodic Table. The story describes a consulting gig that dealt with the making of lipstick from chicken shit.

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