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Hospitality city no longer welcomes roosters

The Cairo City Council unanimously adopted a revised city ordinance that prohibits roosters in the corporate limits of Cairo.
However, the council instructed that the ordinance written by City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman expand the number of chickens allowed in the city to 24 from the proposed seven.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton, who was absent Monday night, was pleased with the action of the council.
“My primary goal was to deal with the noise complaints. By prohibiting roosters we have done that. I really have no problem with allowing more chickens because we haven’t had any complaints about people having too many chickens. It’s simply been complaints over the roosters,” Addleton said.
However, at least one Cairo resident was opposed to the council’s action and she warned Monday night the city could be opening a can of worms.
Deborah Holland, who says many of her neighbors are Hispanic, voiced her opinion that the ordinance should be left in its current form and not govern the number of fowl city residents may have.
Ms. Holland said that many Cairo residents who are Hispanic raise chickens as a source of food. She says they eat the roosters and only eat the hens when they quit laying eggs, which are a major source of protein for Hispanic families.
According to Ms. Holland, her Hispanic neighbors are rarely, if ever, sick and she believes it is due in part to eating yard-raised birds.
She also told city leaders that the yard-raised birds have a better texture and are more appetizing.
“They are really smarter than we are if you get down to it,” she said. Ms. Holland says the Hispanics have a more “green” approach and avoid chickens that are pumped with antibiotics and hormones.
Mayor Richard VanLandingham acknowledged some neighborhoods were more accepting of roosters and hens than others, but pointed out to Ms. Holland that it is the council’s job to come up with a solution in between the two extremes.
City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman said that the city would enforce the new ordinance on a complaint basis only. He also said that the “chicken police” would not be out inspecting local coops and if a city resident has a rooster it is likely he would be eaten before a citation would be issued.
Addleton says the city will attempt to communicate the new ordinance to city residents, including those who may not easily understand English.
“We can’t please everyone, but hopefully this ordinance is a good compromise,” the mayor said Monday.
Ms. Holland suggested the council consider that the complaints have been from a few individuals and not a large group of citizens.
Lehman offered his opinion that if the issue were put before city voters, they would outlaw all chickens within the city.
After hearing Ms. Holland’s pleas to allow the Hispanic residents to continue raising roosters and hens, Councilman Ernest Cloud commented, “Many of these people were raised in a different culture than the one they live in now. They’ve got to adapt to the culture where they live.”
The revised city ordinance went into effect immediately.
In other business Monday night, the council:
Heard a request from Tony Ward and Peter Wright for the city’s assistance in the establishment of a Greyhound bus terminal closer to Cairo and Grady County than Albany or Tallahassee. According to Ward, Thomas County is attempting to attract Greyhound service there, and he suggested the city contact Thomas County officials, which Mayor VanLandingham agreed to do.
Accepted the low bid of $29,661.68 from Peach County Ford for a new one ton, diesel powered Ford truck to replace an 18-year-old truck used to haul asphalt. The city had budgeted $25,000 for the new truck and Addleton says he can cover the difference with unspent budgeted funds.

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