Feral Chickens Besiege South Florida Town

The morning cries of a rooster pierce the all-too-brief silence over Pompano Beach, Florida. Sleeping babies awaken; tired residents pull pillows over their heads. It's been like this for years, with no relief in sight. WPLG Local 10, the ABC affiliate for the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas, reports that a band of feral chickens has been terrorizing the quiet town of Pompano Beach, and authorities are at a loss to stop them.

"The chicken itself is very difficult to catch," Rob McCaughan, the city's weary public works director, tells WPLG. "They are very leery of people. We hired a local firm, we thought, 'Well hey, we're not experts, let's hire the experts.' They were not very successful either."

Desperate residents say they're tired of chicken droppings, early-morning noise, and "general mess" caused by the feral fowl. Animal control says it's not responsible for catching them; wildlife removal services haven't worked; and residents themselves haven't been able to rein them in. Facing a flock of thousands, Pompano Beach's mayor Lamar Fisher calls it "a complicated issue."

Who is to be held responsible for the scratched-up lawns, the parking lots covered in feces, the frightening rash of home invasions perpetrated by marauding chickens?

"How do you prove someone owns a chicken? You don't," city spokeswoman Sandra King tells WPLG. Code enforcement officers have attempted to cite residents for keeping chickens as pets, which is illegal in the city, but again have come up empty. Code enforcement supervisor Mario Sotolango tells the station that residents from certain cultures harbor the chickens, which increases the threat.

"We believe at some point that we, if we're not able to eradicate the problem, will contain it," Sotolango says.

There is yet no word on whether authorities have sought guidance from the Tarpon Springs police unit that brought down the 2002 Rampaging Rooster.