We're back on the wild animal beat at Inquirer Central this week. That is, if you consider feral chickens wild animals.
A Concerned Reader lives in East Wynnton near Ninth Street, and she called to say their chicken problems have not gone away.
Readers of a competing feature of this paper, Chattahoochee Chatter, will remember a couple of weeks back when Councilor Bruce Huff asked City Manager Isaiah Hugley to look into reports of wild chickens roaming East Wynnton causing whatever havoc feral poultry might cause.
Hugley said he was already on the case.
"Staff currently has a plan to try to remedy that problem," Hugley told Huff. "They've got traps out and they monitor the traps during the day."
Problem solved. On to the next, right?
Not yet, apparently.
As I said earlier, I got a call last week from a Concerned East Wynntonian saying the chicken problems persist.
"They don't belong to anybody I don't think," she said. "They wander all over the place and they mess all over my porch and driveway. I try to keep my lawn nice and pretty, but it's hard to do with chickens messing it up."
Chickens are great for barbecuing or frying, but they're not something you want to have close contact with while they're alive. It's not just an aesthetic thing, either.
"Live poultry may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean," a Center for Disease Control and Prevention website reports. "Additionally, the germs can be found on the hands, shoes, and clothing of those who handle the birds or work or play where they live and roam."
Salmonella can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. It can send infants and the elderly to the hospital, the CDC says.
Additionally, if it spreads from the intestines to the bloodstream, it can kill you if antibiotics don't kill it first.
So while punch lines about feral chicken colonies may be funny, having them in your yard isn't.
So I called Drale Short, head of Special Enforcement, which handles animal control, and asked how the chicken trapping is going.
"It's a very long and arduous task," Short said. "Some of them will go into traps and some just won't."
Short said the city has trapped 8-10 so far, but there are any more to get.
Those chickens have been there a long time, probably as long as East Wynnton's been there," she said. "I remember them being there when I was a little girl."
In case you're curious, the city's Code of Ordinances states: "The keeping of fowl shall be allowed as an accessory use on any lot two acres or more in size."
Since I didn't see any two-acre residential lots in East Wynnton, if anyone's harboring these fugitive fowl, they're doing it illegally.