Chickens attack toddlers in California

Henpecked by angry citizens, the Sonoma City Council calls foul on free-roaming birds.

Published May 26, 2000 7:00PM (EDT)

Ah, Sonoma, Calif. -- rural town-cum-tourist spot. Grapes
drip from the vines, mom-and-pop companies proffer organic
goat cheeses and the leafy town plaza, lined by gift shops,
features meandering chickens.

Everything was fine until a couple of bad eggs began acting
up. According to a Reuters report, several of the plaza's
chickens, mostly roosters, developed a bad attitude and
began to take out their aggression on toddlers.

After what the news service called "a flurry of attacks on
neighborhood children," a particularly incensed rooster
jumped an 18-month-old boy without provocation, and the
battle between chickens and parents took off.

Although the attacks were attributed to too much
testosterone -- not enough hens among the roosters -- Sonoma
County parents were unsympathetic. Monica Garcia, the
mother of the assaulted toddler, told Reuters, "It's not
charming when you have to see your baby attacked ... Seeing
the blood going down his face and seeing him screaming ... I
can't sleep at night."

The brutality of that attack was the last straw: The
Sonoma City Council promptly banned chickens from the

"I don't know if it's possible to envision a roosterless
plaza," said Councilman Ken Brown, "but I have to tell you,
when it comes to a question between a kid and a chicken,
it's the kid."

By J.A. Getzlaff

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