I'm not sure what a majority of the Cape Girardeau City Council was thinking while voting earlier this week to allow local residents to have chickens. Perhaps, that's the problem. They obviously weren't thinking.
They apparently got sweet-talked by the Pro-Chicken Coalition, won over by grand claims of all the revenue that the city can make issuing residents licenses for their flocks of chickens.
I'm afraid our city fathers were blinded by the potential windfall and failed to see the seedier side of pullet possession:
Don't they realize that chickens are the entry-level livestock, just like marijuana is the entry-level drug or that Happy Meals are the starting point for a lifetime of obesity?
Oh sure, things might start off great. Your neighbor might put in a cute little white-washed chicken coop for the maximum 10 hens that will be allowed by the city. He might even share some fresh eggs with you, being neighborly and all.
But in no time, those 10 hens will become 20, and soon you'll start hearing muffled "cock-a-doodle-doos" coming from his basement where he has stashed an illegal rooster or three.
Soon you'll find sheep grazing on your zoysia and goats doing a wicked balancing act on their back legs while they strip every leaf they can reach from your prized climbing roses.
In short order, you will have to walk through a virtual minefield of cow pies every morning to retrieve your Southeast Missourian, praying that the delivery guy didn't throw another bulls-eye. It doesn't matter if the newspaper carrier double or even triple bagged the paper that day. No amount of plastic will keep THAT stench off the Sports section.
And whom can you thank for the Hereford that saunters through your tulips everyday? Those four city council members who voted in favor of opening Pandora's Box, that's who!
Now, they're going to say that a situation like what I just described will never happen, that City Zoning will keep chicken lovers from hoarding other livestock. But just who do you think is going to rigorously enforce these ordinances?
Oh sure, a neighborhood police officer might write a ticket if it is specifically pointed out to him or her that a zoning ordinance is being violated, but do you really think he or she got a criminal justice degree so they could be put on Poultry Patrol? I seriously doubt it.
And these livestock hoarders are no dummies. They'll be monitoring the police bands for any signs that an officer might be about to do a drive-by because the neighbor called in a complaint for the eighteenth time. They'll know that the police rate livestock hoarding as slightly more offensive than jaywalking, so they will have plenty of time to shoo their sheep and goats and cows and all the other non-chicken livestock that they have accumulated out of sight and into their garage for the duration of the officer's visit.
And when you show the officer a fresh pie made by an ambling Angus that very afternoon, what do you think the response will be from your friendly neighborhood hoarder as he lies through his teeth?
"Why that? I guess my hens must really love that Purina Chicken Chow. Care for some fresh eggs, officer?"