Hialeah Neighbors Frustrated the City Won’t Catch Loose Chickens

Some neighbors in Hialeah say they’re tired of the noise that wakes them up and keeps them up. They’re not complaining about wild parties, but roosters that run loose in the neighborhood. This year, the city has received about 50 animal-related complaints – most about the birds.

Maria Olivella manages an assisted living facility in Hialeah. She said she would like to see the city do something about the birds because of the mess they leave behind.

“The staff cleans in the morning between 8 and 10 in the morning. At noon time we have to clean again,” said Olivella.

The City of Hialeah doesn’t allow homeowners to keep chickens, but it’s not hard to find the birds loose in some areas of the city. And it’s more than just a mess for Maria. The birds could cost the company she works for money.

"They can fine us,” said Olivella.

During an inspection, the state of Florida blamed “chicken droppings on the sidewalk” when it said the home failed to provide a clean and decent living environment.

Omar Pino who lives near the assisted living facility said he’s frustrated by the bird poop all over his patio furniture, but he’s even more annoyed by the noise they make overnight.

“The roosters start to crow at 3-4 in the morning,” said Pino.

Olivella said she tried looking for help.

“I’m worried. That’s the reason I called the City of Hialeah,” said Olivella.

But she said city hall told her that she was on her own.

“They don’t provide that kind of service,” she said she was told. “The only way that they can do something is that we know to whom belong the chickens,” said Olivella.

And since she doesn’t know, her employees have taken the matter into their own hands catching more than two dozen chickens in two months.

“Someone has to get the responsibility to get rid of the chickens,” said Olivella.

Postal worker Stewart Ariza said he tries to help, too, by picking up stray chickens. But he said he gets pushback from people in the community.

“I say okay you don’t want me to take those chickens, I say okay let me call the city. And when I say I call the city. Oh, they’re not the owner no more,” explained Ariza.

Ariza believes Hialeah should follow Miami’s example. The City of Miami has a team designated to pick up chickens.

NBC 6 Responds reached out to Hialeah city officials.

Hialeah’s mayor declined to talk to us about the chickens and referred us to the police chief.

“They seemed to be not owned by anybody that’s part of the problem,” said Chief Sergio Velazquez with the Hialeah Police Department.

A city spokesperson told us the best approach is to file a complaint against a neighbor who has chickens. But if you don’t know who the owner is, then you have to hire someone to remove them.

While Chief Velazquez said picking up chickens isn’t a job for the police department, he promised to respond to Omar and Maria’s neighborhood.

“They’re illegal to have so you know the problem is still we still have to see what we do with the chickens,” said Velazquez.

The chief of police sent an officer to their neighborhood the day after our interview. The city told us they would hire a private company to remove the chickens but days later said they hadn’t found a company willing to do the work for less than $100 per bird.

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