Chasing Chickens in Miami
Who you gonna call? Chicken catchers chase Miami's unwanted population.
Aug. 20, 2007 — -- You've got to have a sense of humor if you're going to join Miami's squad of chicken catchers. It may be a serious mission they're on, but inevitably it is filled with comic moments.
Which explains the shirts emblazoned with the words "CHICKEN BUSTERS" that Ozzie Iglesias, Bill Borges and Lester George wear when then are in pursuit of prohibited poultry. Remember the movie "Ghost Busters?" You know… who you gonna call when you see chickens running through the yard? Chicken busters.
Miami likes to, uh, crow that it is the only city in the country with a team of chicken busters. It is a uniquely Miami problem: So many of the people here come from the Caribbean and Latin America where free-ranging chickens are just part of the landscape. It may seem quaint if you are passing through the neighborhood; it's not so charming when the roosters crow incessantly outside your bedroom window every day at sunrise.
"Slow down! Slow down!" said Ozzie to his fellow busters as they prepare for a stealth assault on a dozen roaming chickens outside a Miami seniors' complex. All three are clutching big green fish nets.
"Alright go… in the corner!!"
Suddenly the birds take flight. Who knew that chickens and roosters could fly so high so fast?
"Not a one!" said Ozzie with a dejected look on his face.
At least once a month you'll find Ozzie, a Miami firefighter, and Lester and Bill of code enforcement prowling the boulevards and backyards of Miami in search of roaming chickens.
It is a violation of city bylaws to have chickens in residential areas. "Mostly because of the noise they make," said Bill, "the cackling, pretty much all day long."
Borges asked the Animal Welfare Department -- they oversee the dog catchers -- to help deal with the plague of poultry. But he was told, "We don't do chickens." So he created his own squad borrowing a couple of adventuresome firefighters.
The trio reposition behind some parked cars for a second assault on the unsuspecting chickens.