Four roosters, two adults and two young, were found abandoned in the Heritage Park playground Aug. 21. Town workers, police and animal rescue groups responded to take the animals away and give them sanctuary outside the town.
Visitors to Heritage Park reported on social media finding the roosters Friday morning. Suffolk County Police were notified, and upon calling the North Shore-based Strong Island Rescue League around 10 a.m. a town worker was able to corral the animals into a corner of the playground while Frankie Floridia, the president of Strong Island, picked them up to put them in cages and transport them away.
Floridia said the animals will either go to an animal sanctuary, or to families who wish to take care of them in townships where it is legal to own roosters.
The animal rescuer said there is a major issue in the Town of Brookhaven with people illegally abandoning animals such as domestic ducks in local ponds, but especially roosters. Mail order chickens have become an increasingly popular business, though some do not specify whether the chickens are male or female. The animal rescuer said they have come to calls for several abandoned roosters in Brookhaven over the past few years.
“What the people do, rather than get a fine is they go ahead and dump them,” Florida said. “The problem is dumping them, they can’t survive on their own in the wild. They are easy prey for predators, they get hit by cars, they have no food source. It’s a slow torturous death for them.”
Some online questioned whether the animals were runaways from the small farm just around the corner from The Wedge, aka Heritage Park. The roosters indeed did not come from Niegocki Farms, off of Mount Sinai Coram Road, but that small little taste of agriculture life on the North Shore has had major issues with people dumping chickens onto their property.
Tricia Niegocki, of Niegocki Farms, said that they have had six occasions in the past few years where they found roosters dumped on their property. This includes an incident where an unknown individual dumped 26 hens over their fence “in the dead heat of summer” of about 95 degrees.
“Anyone who knows us knows if it’s in our capabilities to be able to take hens off someone’s hands or help where we can,” Niegocki said. “By dumping them it was a three day ordeal in trying to catch them and pen them up in a pen we had to rush to get ready for them.”
Though the farm is often asked personally to look after chickens, especially roosters, another major issue with dumping roosters is the risk of disease spreading amongst a flock. This is especially concerning for a farm, which depends on those chickens as part of their livelihood, though leaving them to fend for themselves would only invite
The farmer said the town code is partly to blame for the number of people who abandon these animals.
“A person’s dog can bark all day and night but a rooster is unacceptable? She said. “I think the laws need to change to be more accommodating. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, having the ability to feed your family is very important and chickens provide not only eggs but also a source of meat.”
Strong Island Animal Rescue can be contacted at [email protected] or through their Facebook page.
To donate to Strong Island visit: https://www.strongislandanimalrescueleague.org/pages/donate-today
For more on the Mount Sinai farm, visit http://www.niegockifarms.com/
*This post was updated Aug. 24 to add information from the local Niegocki Farms about their own experiences with abandoned roosters.