The Miami Herald

In Miami, the Chicken Busters are back

Chickens, beware.

Miami city officials are reviving the Chicken Busters, the team tasked with removing errant fowl from city streets.

The team was eliminated three years ago in a round of budget cuts. But Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones requested the Chicken Busters be put back on the street after fielding a flurry of complaints from Little Haiti and Overtown residents.

“I’m definitely having problems with the chickens in my district, and the roosters,” she told city administrators and her fellow commissioners at a meeting this month. “They are really out of control right now.”

To make the point, Spence-Jones described a gathering she attended in Little Haiti that was continually interrupted by a crowing rooster.

Her story was interrupted by clucking — from the other commissioners on the dais.

“This is a serious thing,” Chairman Francis Suarez said between laughs. “If you have a chicken loose in your block, it is death to your quality of life.”

The Chicken Busters captured thousands of roosters and hens from 2003 to 2009. The squad had its 15 minutes of fame, too. It was featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and the Discovery Channel’s series Dirty Jobs.

In its latest incarnation, the Chicken Busters will be made up of two neighborhood service workers focusing on the Little Haiti area, Neighborhood Enhancement Team Director Haydee Wheeler said. The city isn’t budgeting any extra money for chicken-busting efforts. The newest busters will use Miami’s old nets and cages.

They hit the streets next week.

Animal rights activists needn’t worry, Wheeler said.

“We will be taking the chickens to a pet shop,” she said.

Wheeler also had to assuage concerns from Miami Commission Vice Chairman Marc Sarnoff.

“I just want to make sure that you’re not picking up peacocks from the Grove,” he said.

“As per our city charter, the city of Miami is a sanctuary,” Wheeler replied. “We will not be removing any peacocks.”




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