Reader frustrated by lack of concern for abandoned chicken.

July 18, 2016
Dear Editor,

I received quite a shock tonight.  I clean a local business office on a weekly basis.  I actually almost forgot to clean it this weekend, and then at 6 o’clock tonight, I suddenly remembered.  I got food, went to the office, ate my dinner quickly, and got down to cleaning.

The last step was to take the garbage that the office had accumulated out to the dumpster behind the building.  As I lifted one of the flaps and chucked the first bag into the dumpster, I noticed something brown and oval out of the corner of my eye.  I had closed the flap, but then opened it up again to see what my peripheral vision had captured.  And what is it that I found?

A chicken.  A live chicken.

Someone had dropped a live chicken in the dumpster behind the office.  To say I was stunned was an understatement.

I ran into the office to get my phone and called 911 to report it.  I figured that even if they couldn’t do something, they could point me in the right direction (but really, would law enforcement ignore a live animal left in a dumpster to die?).  I was told by the dispatcher that they would send a deputy out.  By this point, a gentleman that had been riding by on his bicycle had noticed what was going on and stayed with me while I waited.  We chatted for a few minutes until I received another call from Dispatch, who proceeded to inform me that this sort of situation isn’t handled by the police, and no one was available from Animal Control (although at first I thought that Animal Control couldn’t help. I’ll admit I was a bit flabbergasted at the whole thing and wasn’t sure exactly what she said).  She gave me the number for DNR and instructed me to call the number, follow the appropriate prompts, and get to a live person, or I could get the chicken out myself, or leave it there (a suggestion that I quite frankly found offensive, although I don’t think she meant it to be so).

It took me a couple of tries, but I did get a hold of a gentleman with the DNR who informed me that since it wasn’t a wild animal (say, a wild turkey), they couldn’t do anything.  He recommended Animal Control, who I was told was unavailable by Dispatch (really?).  To be fair, he did try to help by finding rehabilitation centers in the area (of which there were none), and gave me Animal Control’s number.  So, with the kindly gentleman still hanging out with me, I called Animal Control and, surprise surprise, got a voicemail.  By this point, I was fuming, and I left an admittedly snarky message.  At this point, I felt there was nothing for it.  I got a chair from the office, climbed into the dumpster, and got the poor thing out of the dumpster and back onto the pavement.

I don’t know how long she was in the dumpster, but at this point you would think that she would have taken off like a shot, but she just stood there.  The gentleman with me who has experience with farm animals said that her behavior didn’t seem normal.  She was missing a patch of feathers from the side of her body. I got her some water from the office (which she didn’t take), and I found myself wondering what to do next.  Should I just leave her to wander around and possibly get attacked by another animal or run over by a car?  Should I take her home, where I would have to contend with a cat who may not take kindly to a strange animal in her domain, and Lord only knows what diseases, mites, fleas, or other pests a chicken might carry?

After calling my parents, they suggested I contact my aunt who has ducks and chickens on her property.  It turned out to be a perfect solution.  She was kind enough to take the chicken in (and separate from the rest of the animals in case of disease) where she will have access to food and clean water.  By the time I everything was said and done, it was 11 o’clock at night.  I was sweaty, smelly, sore, and understandably angry.  No one can convince me that she climbed into that dumpster on her own.

I’m writing you about this for two reasons:  one, to inform the public that some moron decided it would be a good idea to drop a live animal in a dumpster to die, and two, to highlight the limited means available for assistance for unique situations like this.  The police wouldn’t do anything.  The DNR wouldn’t do anything.  Animal Control wasn’t available.  The only ones available were a stranger, my aunt, and myself.  I do not find this acceptable.

I only hope that the chicken will still be alive by tomorrow morning (the gentleman who stayed with me told me not to be surprised if she wasn’t, she could be sick).  At least I can sleep knowing that she at least has a safe place to stay.

To the gentleman who was passing by who kept me company and gave me suggestions, thank you.  To my parents, who suggested my aunt as a source of aid, thank you.  To my awesome Aunt Karen, who thought nothing of taking care of her when I asked, thank you.

And to the individual who left the chicken in there in the first place:  shame on you.  Shame on your sad, pathetic little soul.  I don’t know where you get off thinking you can just drop a living thing in a dumpster to die (probably from heat stroke if she had been in there long enough), but I have no doubt that you know better.  I don’t care if you’re an adult or a child.  I don’t care if you’re male or female.  I don’t give the furry little crack of a rat’s behind about your background or your state of mind.  You had no right to do that, and because of you, I had to climb into a dumpster to save her.  You are the reason I like animals better than I do most people.


Carmen Martin