Cock-a-doodle do?: City's roosters may be saved

DANIEL ADAMS
Last updated 14:00 28/02/2013

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Hamilton's roosters may just have escaped the axe.

Just a week after backing a citywide rooster ban, the city council is instead proposing veto powers over keeping them.

The decision means prior written permission would be needed from staff - even for current owners - before roosters were permitted.

In the past three years, the council received 153 complaints about poultry, 84 of which were rooster related, with just over half of those about noise, prompting staff to propose changes to the city's animal nuisance bylaw.

Council staff said roosters were the biggest source of complaints under the current nuisance bylaw. They added they had been hamstrung by owners refusing to accept that their rooster's crowing was a nuisance.

While staff could seize nuisance birds if owners ignored a court order, the council had no facilities to house roosters if they were seized and, even if it did, the council by law had to keep the rooster for six months before it could do anything else, according to an earlier staff report on the issue.

Councillor Ewan Wilson said roosters belonged in rural environments.

"People choose to live in a city and don't expect to deal with having a rooster next door. If you live in a city the only rooster you should have is in the oven," he said.

Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman said he was concerned allowing roosters to be kept subject to prior written approval would incur a greater workload for Council staff while Councillor Martin Gallagher said he preferred a more moderate approach than an all-out ban.

Meanwhile, Councillor Peter Bos questioned how staff would determine a good rooster from a bad one and whether the rooster had the right of appeal.

Other places to have banned roosters include Auckland and Nelson, while Palmerston North enforces strict conditions such as making would-be owners "decroak" their birds.

New Plymouth is also considering a ban.

The latest decision will now be released as part of public consultation on the proposed nuisance bylaw.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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