To help a little girl named Ayla keep her beloved pet rooster, Dallas, more than 35,000 Care2 members signed a petition — and now it’s a success!
It was back in June of 2012 that 5-year-old Ayla bought Dallas with her own money, with the intention of showing him at 4-H this summer. Ayla’s family were careful to do their research and found that Dufur did not have any ordinances prohibiting residents from keeping roosters.
Ayla took great care of Dallas, carrying him, sneaking him special treats and getting him ready for 4-H.
Then, last year, Dufur passed an ordinance against roosters.
At first, it looked like things were going to be all right. An August 2013 letter from the city of Dufur said that Dallas would be grandfathered in as Ayla had gotten him before the ordinance was created. But then came another letter saying that Dallas was creating a noise disturbance and that he’d have to go.
Ayla’s mother, Jill Macnab, decided to take action. She started a Care2 petition that instantly got lots of support from people around the world. Quite a few reporters picked up the story and hundreds of people started following updates about Dallas’ fate on a Facebook page.
On March 7, the Mayor of Dufur said that Dallas was still considered a nuisance under the current ordinances. But he also put a “stay” on the order to ban Dallas. Ayla’s parents stepped up their efforts and requested a public hearing about Dallas. They were able to get on the agenda for an April city council meeting.
As Ayla’s mother, Jill, emphasized (with neighbors’ testimony backing her up) Dallas was not a nuisance at all. In preparation for the city council meeting, she described how their campaign to save Dallas was about some even larger issues:
*This is really truly no longer just about Dallas. We are asking the council to drop the specific mention of rooster in the nuisance (337.a2) ordinance, and make any rooster complaints simply “noise” complaints. (Like they used to be…it doesn’t ban roosters but if you have a loud one, your neighbor can still complain: but they are not banned outright.)
Jill called on “anyone in the city limits of Dufur with a rooster” and, indeed, “anyone who SUPPORTS having roosters” to attend the public hearing. As she pointed out, “dropping this specific mention of roosters means that 4-hers can have their show animals, and that people can have roosters in their flocks” — that people would recognize the importance of keeping roosters in teaching children and others about the responsibilities involved in caring for animals.
All of this hard work paid off. On April 8, the city of Dufur voted to modify the ordinance about roosters being a nuisance and dropped the provision. Now Ayla doesn’t have to worry about losing Dallas and can concentrate on getting him ready for 4-H (which will happen in just a few months!).
The efforts to save Ayla’s rooster show how, through perseverance and good effort, we can make a difference, by starting a petition and by speaking up to local officials. As Jill wrote, “I really truly don’t think we could have done this without the overwhelming support of each and every one of you! Thank you thank you from the bottom of this mama’s heart.”
Photo via Jill Macnab