Neighbor Jeremy tells the tale of the rooster that showed up outside his home near Precita Park yesterday, how he (valiantly) captured said rooster, and how you can claim the creature if he was yours:
On Sunday I overheard the murmur of a crowd of onlookers gathering outside my house. I caught snippets such as “Wow, look! It’s a rooster”, and “How did that rooster get there?”. After what sounded like an entire class field trip stopped by to gawk, goaded by a parental “Hey look kids! A rooster! I figured I should go out and see it for myself.
When I opened my front door, however, I wasn’t prepared for A Full-On, Actual Rooster, standing on my doorstep. I closed the door and shouted for my girlfriend:
“There’s a rooster on the doorstep!”
The SF’s Animal Control dispatcher that I reached on the phone said, “We’ve only got two officers on duty today and we’re overbooked. By the time we get someone out there, he’ll probably be long gone.”
I had opened the door. The rooster was now staring back at me, intently.
“Is there any way you can keep him there?”, the dispatcher continued.
Note closely that the dispatcher hadn’t ask me to “catch” the rooster; that was just Strongly Implied. I knew this routine. My previous encounters with Animal Control have taught me that they don’t want to incur liability should a caller get injured handling an animal themselves.
“Uh, sure. I’ll try,” I replied.
“Thanks. Call back and let us know what happens. There have been two roosters in your area causing havok. We caught one of them; this sounds like his ‘brother’.”
I’m not rooster wrangler, so what I could I possibly do? Flashbacks of the vivid cockfighting scenes in Alex Haley’s “Roots” raced through my mind as we tenatively approached him with a bathroom towel. Would this end with a chalk outline of my body sprawled down the stairway? Would I end up a line item in the world “Fatality By Chicken” index?
The towel finally startled him and with a squawk he took the air and “flew”, in so much as chickens do, over to the neighbor’s stairway, landing with a muffled thunk against the railing.
By now I had attracted the attention of a neighbor. “Is that your rooster?” she asked.
She told me how she had just arrived home and found her porch a mess of bird droppings and scratch marks. “We though maybe a dog had chased a pigeon into our yard. We’ve been gone over the weekend. He must have been there the whole time.”
“Nope, I have no idea where he’s from,” I said. “Actually,” I paused, “I think he’s one of the mystery roosters that I hear crowing from the yards of one of my backyward neighbors. I’ve never been able to tell from exactly where, though.”
I called Animal Control to let them know that, alas, the rooster got away (and was no longer My Problem). I wished them the Best Of Luck.
“Ok, well, we’ll send someone out. Maybe he’ll still hang around, but I
doubt it,” said the dispatcher.
After hanging up I looked back to the bottom of my neighbor’s stairway and the rooster wasn’t there. Instead, he had walked up the stairs and nestled himself in a nook formed by the elongated railing.
“Do I really want to be a hero today?” I murmured to myself.
Catching a chicken is hard in an open space, but now there was a rare opportunity since he’d walled himself in on three sides. I sighed, picked up the towel, and walked up my neighbor’s staircase.
Cautiously, I approached with the towel fully stretched between my arms. I knew vaguely that I should try to hide my face lest he be startled the gaze of my primate, binocular, predator eyes. Peeking over the towel every now and then, however, I anthropomorphized a look of calm perplexity on his face.
Finally, I had stepped up all the way and covered the nook with the towel. He was trapped, but strangely to me, he was not alarmed. Are roosters really that dumb?
The first neighbor was back.
“You’ve got him?” She asked.
“Well, I’ve got him trapped,” I said.
“Just get the towel over his head and grab him over the wings.”, she offered, helpfully. “They calm down when you get them like that.”
I learned that she herself kept chickens in her backyard. “I hope he doesn’t get in with them,” she added.
Sure enough, using the extra courage afforded to me by the pair of gloves and protective eyewear that she ran back and got for me, I had the bird in my hands. I could not believe it.
“Genius,” said someone behind me. It was the neighbor who owned the stairway, who had opened her door during the time I had first gotten him trapped.
I placed the rooster bundle into a cat carrier and called Animal Control triumphantly.
“Randy,” as I will call him, is now at the shelter at 15th and Harrison streets. He will be held there for 5 days, at which point, I am happy to learn, he will be given to an animal rescue organization if unclaimed.
Please post his pictures so that he might be rescued.
PHOTOS: Neighbor Jeremy Cooper