Backyard chickens not only rule the roost in Tampa, but they're protected too.
"It's been very interesting. It's definitely been a learning experience," offered Sofia Starkey, who got her chickens as a birthday present. "It's part of my childhood."
New rules mean chickens are legal as pets. However, if they get loose or if they're overrunning your neighborhood, tough luck. There's nothing you can do. That's because free roaming birds, including chickens, are protected under Tampa's bird sanctuary ordinance.
"It does seem a little silly if the law doesn't at least let you go and capture them. Could you go and capture a cat? Could you capture a dog that's loose?" observed Rick Fifer, a Seminole Heights resident.
The same ordinance protects the charm and character of Ybor City's free roaming hens and roosters.
"I love going to Ybor City and seeing the little roosters, and there are a couple of roosters that roam around in our neighborhood. We hear it in the morning. I really like it," said Sofia's mother, Laura Starkey.
But not every neighborhood does. So, City Council members plan to take another run at the rules and decide whether to exempt chickens from the city's bird sanctuary ordinance and leave the protection up to the owners and their chicken coops.
"You take care of them and you protect them and give them an area where they have a fighting chance to not become lunch for some other animal, which will happen in the city," added Laura Starkey.
The Tampa City Council will discuss the issue Tuesday during a regularly scheduled workshop meeting.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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