DUFUR, Ore. — There's a big squawk in a small Oregon town over a 5-year-old girl who's trying to hang on to her pet rooster despite an ordinance intended to stop the crowing.
The girl, Ayla Macnab, slept in her mother's lap Tuesday night while Mayor Arthur Smith of Dufur presided over a hearing to determine the fate of Dallas, the rooster in question.
A neighbor has complained about crowing. The Columbia Gorge farming town of 620 people has an ordinance, enacted in August 2012, that prohibits "roosters and other loud fowl," The Dalles Daily Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1ewBoTn) reports.
The dispute has attracted the attention of thousands online, thanks to the efforts of Jill Macnab, who told The Oregonian (http://bit.ly/1fU7k4V) that her daughter would be traumatized if she lost Dallas: "It's not a chicken to her; it's her best friend."
The Macnabs say they got Dallas before the ordinance went into effect in August 2012. Another family rooster, named Zeus, was purchased after that date, so when a neighbor complained, Zeus was sent out of town.
"We were told that Dallas was grandfathered in, because we had him earlier," said Jill Macnab.
The Daily Chronicle reports that the law doesn't have a grandfather clause.
Dufur is east of the Cascades in Oregon's dry, wheat country. Ayla hopes to show Dallas at the county fair and has considerable support among people who say keeping animals is what kids do in 4-H country.
Jill Macnab's online efforts led to 22,000 people across the globe signing a petition in favor of Dallas, and 6,600 people have liked the "Saving Dallas The Rooster" page.
On the other hand, municipalities that allow residents to have chickens generally exclude roosters, because of the crowing.
Ayla's father, Bryce Macnab, said Dallas rarely crows, and then only at mid-morning, not at dawn.
Reba Lloyd, who filed the complaints, said she has nothing against chickens and hopes to have some of her own, as she did when she was a child — just not roosters.
"I think if you want a rooster, you need to live outside the city limits," she said. "That's my feeling."
The mayor's family keeps a dozen chickens, and his children are in 4-H. But when a rooster emerges from a batch of chicks, he says, it has to go.
Nobody spoke against Dallas at the hearing Tuesday. Smith has 10 days to make his decision. It is subject to an appeal to the City Council.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com