SPCA agent insures care for all animals

The SPCA raided my property last week.

Their probe followed closely on the heals of a police officer who paid us an unsolicited visit.

A neighbor complained of the Sombitch Rooster, who could not keep crowing to a minimum and has raised such a ruckus, we have to find him a new home, away from the Philadelphia area, and some less dense place like New Jersey.

Complaints were lodged by the same person. A 30-something White guy who recently married the young widow two houses away. He’s complained of the rooster as soon as he moved in, exerting his role as a new property owner, I guess. Until then, the rooster has been tolerated and actually appreciated by youngsters who never saw one up close. That includes the 10-year-old daughter of the complainant.

He owns two clean and shiny vehicles that he parks outside our homes. They’re real “lookers.” “Never went through a mechanical wash,” he told me about his Mustang when he was courting the widow. “Always hand-washed it.” he said like a proud father of a bright and shining child. He also owns the most expensive black beauty of a truck I’ve ever seen up close. Always looks like it’s just been waxed and simonized.

A young agent  from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) swept through the yard and made her way to the chicken coop (converted shed). The upper yard and shed passed her inspection, but she noted the winter carry-over of leaves and assorted gunk that accumulated on the concrete patio and walkway posed a health hazard to the chickens.

She also got a report of a man hitting the animals with a broom, she said. She told me this right after she saw me shooing away Sombitch Rooster who came straight for me, bypassing her and my son, Nicholas.

I was the broom culprit. She realized it was for self-defense when seeing me ward off the attacking rooster with a five-foot metal pole.

I could have argued that the leftover dirt and natural “mess” were but parts of Mother Nature, undisturbed by human hands the past six months. Might have pointed out all the nutrients, worms and other food-stuff  had formed into a “composted” material good for the fowl.

But, I agreed that the place looked a mess. Nicholas and I cleaned it over the next several days, an hour or so each visit, until it was “suitable” for any neighbor who might feel his new property value has somehow been diminished by our fowl ways.

On her visit yesterday, Officer Kristina Machalette, approved our work and was greeted by our cat, Sundance. “Is this one of them?” she asked of one of our two cats, Sundance who was lying peacefully at the foot of a 2-foot black Buddha statue I keep in the yard. (Sundance is my “Buddha buddy” who often lies on my lap while I  meditate.)

Her appearance and recognition of the Buddha could not have come at a better time. I had just told the SPCA agent how I let the yard go “wild” after studying Buddhism and “detaching” myself from many material things, including “manicuring” of our yard to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Something landed on her arm. The agent shook it off. It  was a Monarch Butterfly that felt no threat from Officer Machalette. We both marvelled at the beauty of nature as she said goodbye. Her work at my place was done; her compassion for wayward animals continuing in what is often uncaring world.

16 comments on “SPCA agent insures care for all animals

  1. JhanaJian says:

    Awwww… Let’s have a moment of silence. Truly I would probably like the mean Sombitch rooster better than I would like your new neighbor, Michael.

    It’s a sad outcome, but sometimes we have to make tough decisions. You did what you had to do. I’m sure your son will understand that.


    • Did I detect a hug coming from you to me? Even a little smile twinkling in the corner of those beautiful eyes.

      Missed your no-nonsense approach, JhanaJian. A lot more than I have missed Sombitch Rooster.

      By the way, my neighbor turned out to be a pretty good dude. Offered me a beer with some of his friends when I told him about the rooster removal.

      It was a tough decision, but I know it has been for the best. Getting rid of the rooster, not the beer.


      michael j


  2. Lia says:


    I’m confused. If the “mess” in the yard was unsuitable for chickens, how is it suitable for humans? I believe that we all have different opinions on what constitutes a comfortable environment, and maybe his is organization and neatness. I think its wonderful when people show pride in their properties and themselves. I don’t believe we should take that away from someone. I think that those commenting on this post are more encouraging for the rooster, than for a man taking care of his belongings. I used to live next door to someone with a rooster, and his crows were not confined to the morning hours. We could not eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, watch television, or use our backyard in peace. Perhaps the rooster is impeding on the neighbors peaceful existence. I appreciate (as a former rooster neighbor) you comments regarding balancing the rights of your neighbors.


    • contoveros says:


      Do you know how hard it is to see both sides of an issue?

      I should have thought of this, but believed a shed/chicken coop would keep the noise down. It has, but we leave the rooster roam in the day hours, and that was the rub.

      We’ll be bidding him “adieu” soon because of the noise as well as his assaultive nature.

      michael j


  3. Helen T says:

    Hi Michael,
    Do you remember that our enemies are our best teachers? If someone does something we don’t like or can’t understand or accept, it can have a positive impact to us.
    There are many ways to explain your neighbor’s behavior. I will not tell you about my suggestions. You can find yours.
    People are not bad. They do the best they can do. And they always have good intentions, of course. The main reason of misunderstanding is difference. People so different.
    But sometimes is better not to communicate and not to try to explain them something.
    The only decision sometimes is to say Hello! and smile passing by.
    I have many neighbors like yours. For example, someone stole a rose bush from my mom’s garden, while she was at work.
    Be happy! You have many friends! They will always understand you.


    • contoveros says:

      You offer words of wisdom. Perhaps, I have been too greedy with my rooster, wanting to keep him despite the racket he caused in the neighborhood. I had planned to “retire” him, and this could be the final incentive to follow through with that intent.

      It’ll be hard on my son, who raised “Sombitch,” the name we gave the bantam rooster for his never-ending attacks on me.

      But, it is a learning experience we both can share.

      Think I should give thanks to our neighbor?

      That’s a rhetorical question. No need to tell me what I should already know in my heart.

      michael j


      • Helen T says:

        it’s sometimes difficult to give thanks to people. But it connects with Love we have discussed.


        • contoveros says:


          My new neighbor is taking so much pride in his new property. He’s planting flowers, landcaping the yard and sitting on a back porch with friends all the time listening to the “God-awful” noise of my rooster.

          It would drive anyone to complain. I should have balanced the rights of my neigbors with the welfare of my son. Once upon a time, Nicholas had two or three pet mice. Until he learned to separate the females from the males when pregnant. Within a short period of time, their numbers grew to nearly 100. Along with the fleas!

          We had to let them go. Same must be said of the rooster. He’s attracting way too many concerns, not to mention siring 9 chicks, most of which we have to find homes.

          michael j


  4. That’s the toughest thing about owning your own home. You have zero say about who buys the house next door, and little recourse once you find out their true nature.

    So if I understand this all correctly: your neighbour didn’t like the noise your rooster makes each morning so he put in a complaint that you were mistreating him? In hopes that they would take him away, maybe?

    Too bad you didn’t have a flock of trained pigeons on your property. Maybe the could be pursuaded to do a “drive by” at your neighbour’s pristine car.


  5. tobeme says:

    There is a lesson and purpose for all who come into our life. Thanks for sharing your story, glad it turned out well for you. What is the lesson that the new neighbor is presenting?


    • I know, treat him as a “gem,” a treasure to learn from, as a Bodhisattva would say out of Tibet. I guess I need to reclaim the back yard from the rooster and set my self out to pasture with only the hens to keep me company.

      Don’t need to feel threatened in my own back yard, no matter how much compassion I have for other sentient beings . . .

      michael j


  6. Mr. ‘Thirty something’ needs to spend some time in the real world Michael…

    Maybe you should have him over for tea? *rolls eyes*

    Never mind – I am sure the experience would be lost on him.

    I keep a wild yard myself – smack in the middle of a tightly packed rural/suburban wanna be neighborhood and I am surprised I have had no one knocking on my door yet demanding an explanation for all the weeds in my yard and the odd free form sculptures…

    I would tell them if they asked.

    I have a family of rabbits who live here, a host of toads – more song birds than you can hum along with and the best organic herbs you can find outside a fancy restaurant.

    Stray cats are fed – kids can eat purple bush beans right of the bush without washing them of bug spray and my pear tree feeds bees who then happily pollinate my neighbors precious flowers…

    The world needs someone to have this stuff in their yard so we don’t forget it exists.

    I’ll miss hearing about the ‘Sombitch Rooster’ – I hope he likes his new home (even though I have suggested the stewing pot on one or more occasions I am hoping that will not be his fate)




    • contoveros says:


      I was wondering why I felt “at home” whenever I’d visit your neck of the woods. Me in the states and you in Canada. We got a lot in common, neighbor.

      Good to see Nature preserved in a natural habitat. Bunnies, toads, cats and bees, not to mention those noisy song birds that do very little except perk up that section of humanity that takes time to listen to ’em.


      michael j


  7. Liz Johns says:

    I like your post. Neighbours eh! Sometimes I wonder whether we are truly meant to be social animals or not. We seem to do better on our own … sometimes.


    • contoveros says:


      I’ve been fortunate most of my life, with pretty good neighbors, with the exception of this new one, and one fellow years ago who stole checks from my apartment, and offered me beer from a keg he purchased with one of them. Thought he was being very “neighborly” with me and others he invited to drink in the back yard. That is, until I got my bank draft and learned of his shenanigans.

      michael j


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