Dear Critter Chat,

My neighbor’s fighting chickens and the whole thing’s making me sick.  The noise, the smell, the drunk people driving in and out of the street at all hours of the night.  My wife says to leave it alone but I don’t want my kids exposed to this and in my opinion it’s ruining the neighborhood.


Dear S.F.,

Chicken (aka cock) fighting is illegal in all 50 states, so if your neighbor’s really holding cock fights at his house he’s committing a crime.  Actually, he’s committing at least two crimes: cock fighting and animal cruelty.  And probably more; gambling and illegal possession of cock fighting implements come to mind.

Your neighbor may also be violating local ordinances.  For example, more and more cities and counties are enacting “rooster ordinances,” which greatly limit the number of roosters someone can keep on their property.  Then there are possible zoning and health code violations.  The list goes on…

The next time you believe there’s a fight going on at your neighbor’s house call the police.  In the meantime, you can contact your local animal control, health department, and code enforcement and report the chickens, the noise, and the smell.  Who knows what they’ll find when they go in there?  It’s time to take action; your family and neighbors shouldn’t have to live with this, and neither should the chickens.

Critter Chat is a weekly column from attorney Deborah Knaan, who seeks to answer your animal-related questions. Email questions to with subject line CRITTER CHAT.