June 12, 2009

The City Of Miami Beach Versus an Innocent Bird

So I wrote a letter to the City of Miami Beach regarding Mr. Clucky:

The following question or comments were received about the: City Attorney

From:Chris J***

In the case of Mr. Clucky, it should be noted that according to the
dictionary, under current definitions, he is in fact a pet, and not

live·stock Function: noun Date: 1742
animals kept or raised for use or pleasure ; especially : farm animals kept for use and profit

pet Pronunciation: \ˈpet\ Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps back-formation from Middle English pety small — more at petty Date: 1508
1 a: a pampered and usually spoiled child b: a person who is treated with unusual kindness or consideration : darling 2: a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility

With so many real problems facing Miami Beach, it's a shame that the city has to shamelessly waste precious resources trying to take a man's pet
So here's the reply they sent:
Thank you for your email to the City regarding Mark Buckley's rooster, Mr. Clucky. We appreciate you taking the time to give us your comments about this matter. It is important to clarify that the City has no issue with the daily activities of Mr. Buckley and his rooster; this is solely about the issue of where the rooster is housed by his owner.

The City of Miami Beach prides itself on its unique character and charm. That is no doubt why so many people have chosen our city as their year-long home, where they can live, work and play.

However, the City received a complaint about a rooster and other farm animals living in an apartment unit in the city, and we are obligated to investigate all complaints received. We were able to confirm that a rooster and a hen were living in one unit of an 11-unit apartment building that is located in the heart of a multi-family (apartment) building area of the city. According to our City code, keeping livestock, poultry or farm animals is not allowed.

Our records do not reflect that any complaint was ever made about Mr. Buckley and his rooster for their activities on Lincoln Road or throughout the City, no violations ever been issued to Mr. Buckley for riding around with his rooster, nor have code compliance officers investigated these daily activities. Mr. Buckley's activities with his rooster in our City streets are not the concern, merely where the rooster is housed, as it is in violation of current
City code.

Thank you again for taking
the time to share your comments with the City.

All I can say is that the reading comprehension skill of the Office of the City Manager suck!

If they had read the my original email, they would already know that since Mr. Clucky isn't being raised for "use," that is, food, eggs, or his feathers, he is not livestock. Using an argument already proven false to support one's position shows a certain lack of intelligence.

Bu then, the city has been playing kind of fast and loose with definitions all over the place.

"Poultry" is any bird raised for consumption. Since Mr. Clucky isn't being eaten, he isn't poultry.

Already addressed "livestock."

Taxonomically, there is no such thing as a "farm animal." Ultimately, "farm animal" is any animal that lives on a farm. Most farmers have dogs; my grandaddy's farm had pride of cats that were excellent ratters.

So if the City of Miami Beach is saying that "farm animals" are not permitted, then every dog
and cat in the city limits must similarly be evicted.

Fair's fair, right?


So here's the deal; if the City moves ahead with its assinine attempts to remove a person's pet, we should all report every single violation of City Ordinance. I can provide photographs of all kinds of "farm animals" to quantify our perfectly valid and reasonable complaints.

Those DIRTY farm animals!! We don't want them in OUR city!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (How it got deleted is beyond me but here it is again)

    This issue is pitting neighbors against neighbors and although I can tell you how annoying living next to a rooster can be, never once has anyone addressed the fact that Mr Clucky is kept in a closet.

    Has anyone ever stopped to think that pet, farm animal or poultry (or none of the above), it's not fair to keep him and his hen pal in a closet?

    If Mr Clucky should be considered a 'pet' as you say, then his owner should be fined for cruelty to the animal for keeping it (and the hen) in a closet of his apartment as he's admitted to doing.

  3. Suzy- The problem with that accusation is that it pre-supposes that such treatment is "abuse." You need to do better than that: have you actually seen the closet? How is a closet worse than a cage or a chicken-coop? How many hours a day is he "forced" into the "closet?"

    Or maybe you're actually insinuating that Mr. Clucky is gay, and Buckley is preventing him from "coming out."

    Dogs are regularly trained to sleep in cages these days: is that abusive? The dogs don't mind. Cats are often trained to sleep in a carrier. Abuse? Really? I don't see it. Parrots are forced into a cage, which is likely to be smaller than a closet. Are you proposing a crackdown on parrot owners?

    All I'm saying is that the laws have to be applied fairly.

  4. I'm not touching the 'coming out of the closet' bit because it's rather pointless...oh, I'll do it anyway: if Mr Clucky is gay, then being cooped up with a hen is VERY cruel...

    But yes, keeping an animal, specifically a rooster, in a closet is abuse. If I had a dog/cat/turtle in a closet and the ASPCA came to check up one me, I would most certainly be fined. Besides, keeping him in that closet is probably what's contributing to the neighbor's complaints and the reason 'the law' is being applied.

    MB issues tickets(and makes quite a bit of money from it might I add) to those who are nuisances when it comes to noise- be it a loud car on Washington, a business AND even people with habitually barking dogs (when their neighbors complain).

    Since my family has raised roosters (on a farm), I know a thing or two about them. Roosters, unlike most people believe, do not crow only at morning's first light; they crow at any disturbance. They do it to warn others and to attract potential mates (have you ever seen those stupid dances they perform?). So these two birds, which are kept in a closet in an apartment building, are singing their little hearts out at every neighbor's footsteps, door closing, loud argument, people laughing in the halls, car honking outside, dog barking, light peeking under the door...not to mention the hen he's 'probably' trying to um, impress.

    You have to realize, these neighbors are at wit's end.

    I like Mr Clucky- he's cute to see around SoBe but living next to a rooster is hell.

    What I suggest, so you can better understand the frustration that those who complained about him are suffering through, is that you move next door to a rooster. I give you one week before you are knocking on the owner's door wielding a large kitchen knife and thinking of nuggets.

    Cute or not, you're right-laws do have to be applied fairly and Mr Clucky is a nuisance to his neighbors. While you're suggesting the law is open to interpretation of semantics, the issue is far more complex than just simple words.

  5. Since you seem to going with strict definitions, what about the fact that under your definition of 'livestock' it refers to an animal being "raised for use OR PLEASURE." (emphasis added)

    I agree with your definitions of 'use;' feathers, eggs, etc. But I think Mr. Clucky may fall under the kept for pleasure part of the definition.
    In which case, he could be considered livestock and subject to the Beach ordinance.

    In addition, under the definition of pet, he would have to be a 'domesticated animal.' While Mr. Clucky may be trained, or tame, under human control, I think domestication would require the entire species to be under human control. I don't think a lot of society would considered a chicken to be a domesticated animal.

  6. Suzy, you'll have to do better than simply saying it's abuse. You have to actually demonstrate WHY it's abuse. I can point you to articles about a man who is living in a closet up in Delray Beach, and HE certainly doesn't seem abused. He's even paying rent for his closet. So it's obvious that in and of itself, living in a closet isn't abuse.

    I am as familiar with roosters as you are, and for similar reasons. As you note, dogs can be equally as loud and noisy, at the same times, for the same reasons, but no one is discussing removing dogs from city limits.

    You keep citing noise, yet Buckley wasn't cited for noise complaints, so that line of reasoning is completely without merit until such a complaint is filed.

    The issue is the arbitrary line being used to deprive someone of a pet. And that's all the issue is, based on the charges currently on file.

  7. Silver- if you want to argue that animals kept "for pleasure" are livestock, fine with me. Of course, that applies to dogs and cats and parrots and every single pet out there, so under City law, they'd have to go. Good luck with that!

    As for "domesticated," let's check it out in the dictionary:
    Domesticate: to adapt (an animal or plant) to life in intimate association with and to the advantage of humans

    By this definition, Mr. Clucky is absolutely domesticated.

    Silver, you've fallen into a common trap: you think you know what words mean, so you don't bother the check to see if they really mean what you believe they mean. And as you've just learned, they often don't.

    The disciplined mind understands that there is a difference between what we believe we know and what we can objectively demonstrate to be true.

    I'll be honest with you, Silver: when I first did my research, I was surprised to learn that Mr. Clucky wasn't livestock. My little dictionary excursions often surprise me.

    And that's why I do them.

  8. Regarding 'domestic' animals, are you referring to an individual animal or the species of animal? The definition I looked up considered domesticted animals as referring to an entire species.
    Thus there is a difference between a trained or tamed animal and a domesticated ones.
    The Connecticut chimpanzee that attacked a neighbor was probably considered domestic by it's owners as it was adapted to its life with humans. I don't know if as a society we consider chimpanzees domesticated, however.
    The difference is important as otherwise anyone who wanted to own a lion or tiger or bear (oh my) could try to claim that it was domesticated as it was adapted to living with them.

  9. Anonymous- chimpanzees are never considered domestic, and neither are tigers or lions. They are classified as wild animals.

  10. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you Chris- I'm busy organizing a donation drive for a needy family w/ the Herald.

    The complaints were made by his neighbors and not MB residents seeing him cruising the streets. Unless these neighbors physically saw him in the closet (which I don't deny is out of the realm of possibility on MB), the only way for them to know that a chicken, or chickens, actually lived in there and were not just visiting was to have heard them.

    On to the closet...Without having seen said closet, it pretty much is speculation but chickens are very susceptible to respiratory ailments brought about by chemicals, like paint inside closets, and since I assume said closet is not properly ventilated but rather has a door, it could be considered abuse. On the other hand, if said closet has 2 x 4s, wooden or metal, where Mr Clucky can perch late at night it's adequate. I admit, one look at Mr Clucky's coat and you can see his feathers are quite healthy...but that's attributed to the sunlight he receives outdoors.

    As for the man in Delray, he has chosen to live in a 77 sq ft closet which has been retrofitted with electricity and air conditioning making it slightly larger (and probably more comfortable) than my first dorm room. That makes it a bedroom and not a closet. Again though, his choice.

    I can't speculate as to the thought process of a chicken but it's pretty safe to say Mr Clucky did not choose his dwelling, owner or location. If I were a chicken (I'd be a hen, of course), I'd want to be in my natural environment.

    Lastly, a rooster's natural instinct is to mate so unless his owner has corrected that urge, it's abuse to keep him from performing his natural acts and if he indeed is performing his natural acts (acts which result in eggs) with that chicken he is housed with, then he has indeed been classified correctly as livestock.

  11. Suzy-
    Your arguments are compelling until you consider the facts, at which point they fall completely apart.
    NOISE: no noise complaints have been filed. The City is on record as eveicting Mr. Clucky because they claim he's livestock. Since they didn't file paperwork to evict him because he's noisy, your arguments along this line have no merit.
    ABUSE: no charges of abuse have been filed against Mr. Buckley. The City has filed no paperwork trying to remove Mr. Clucky because he's being abused by "being forced to live in a closet." Since there's no abuse claim, arguments along that line have no merit.
    CHOICE: since this argument applies equally to every single house pet, it has no merit in this particular discussion.
    NATURAL INSTINCT: Again, every animal has the natural instinct to mate: cats, dogs, parrots, parakeets, all of them. Since this argument can be applied to any pet, it has no merit in this discussion.

    The City of Miami Beach is forcing Buckley out because they claim his pet is livestock. PERIOD.

    I have demonstrated that their claims are not as cut-and-dried as everyone seems to think. And none of your comments to date have negated my demonstration.

  12. So they're forcing him out because he's livestock. Isn't that what they should be doing if he's violating the ordinance?
    If they know that he is in violation of a law, aren't they required to act upon it?
    I understand that in our society there may be laws that we don't agree with (especially those which we call 'victimless' crimes) but if he is in violation then he's gotta go.

    I can't grow and smoke marijuana in the privacy of my own home even if nobody else was involved. I know how to ride a motorcycle but if I don't take the test and get the endorsement on my license, it's still a crime to ride it.

    So Mr. Clucky isn't bothering anyone. It's still illegal to keep him in the city.

  13. So they're forcing him out because he's livestock. Isn't that what they should be doing if he's violating the ordinance?

    Only if he's actually violating the ordinance. The ordinance deals with livestock which are "animals kept for use." Since he's not providing eggs or Sunday dinner, he's not livestock, according to the definition of "livestock."

    Did you actually READ my post? It's all in there.

  14. Clearly you've missed something Chris- the reason why he was deemed livestock. After all, city officials did go to the home to verify which means they must have seen something that qualifies him as livestock.

    While arguing on behalf of a chicken seems like a noble cause, you should find out why he was deemed livestock before trying to combat the findings. It might help with your argument.

  15. I gotta say, Suzy, you really suck at arguing. It's one made-up argument after another.

    Here's a thought: instead of making stuff up, why don't simply you go request a copy of the complaint? It's a public record. Go on. Do it. Post it on your blog, and beat me over the head with it. It'll be fun.

    I mean, it'll be fun for me, of course. I already know exactly what it says.