This rooster lives in the basement of a tenament building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan – the same building where Barak Obama lived in 1992. I know about the rooster because I called 311, New York City’s non-emergency number when I happened to see him limping down the street yesterday. And in a city where children are often abused to death, the care and concern exhibited toward this chicken was pretty damn remarkable – and more than a little unsettling.
The 311 operator put me through to a very nice lady at Animal Care and Control who said they would send someone to get the bird when they could, within a few hours. We said goodbye and a few minutes later, she called back because she forgot to get my name. I was standing around talking with some other people who were concerned about the rooster, and we offered it a rice cake one of us had in a pocket. It ate it.
Then, a Hispanic woman came out of the basement of the building, walked up to the rooster, picked him up under her arm and said “Oh, you met my bird. He loves to eat the flowers.”
Since the bird was hurt, we asked if she planned to take it to a vet and she said she did. And she said the other chicken was crying because it missed this chicken so she was taking him home.
I called the AC&C lady back and said that the chicken had a home and so all was well. But she said that didn’t sound good and maybe the birds were fighting birds.
So she connected me to the Animal Abuse Hotline where a man asked if the bird’s neck and legs were shaved, and if the rooster had his comb. He was not shaved, and he had his beautiful comb. “Then it’s legal for them to have them in the building,” he said, “but it’s required that they get medical care for it if it’s hurt.” I thanked him and said goodbye.
At nine last night, someone called from Animal Care & Control to ask if I was the person who had called about the rooster and to see how it had worked out. Impressive, I thought, that they cared so much about this bird.
Today, at 7:30 a.m., Animal Care & Control called, saying they had a report that I had called about a chicken. I told her the story, and said I was impressed with their follow-through.
If only city agencies cared as much about hurt children…