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Rooster netted as he loses coup for courtyard coop

[5/15/03]Feathers were ruffled Tuesday for Phyllis Neumann and business partner Stephen Zeitler when they found a rooster in the courtyard of their wellness studio on Washington Street.

On Wednesday came the rooster’s turn as city workers netted the bird and hauled him away.

It is the second rooster in less than a week caught by Eldridge Skinner and Robert Mays, both with the Vicksburg Animal Control Department.

Skinner said he got a call from a woman who spotted the roosters on Bodley Street. She told him that they belonged to a tenant of a home there who left them when he moved.

Skinner and Mays couldn’t catch the roosters at first, but set a trap and caught one last week. The other got away.

“We chased and chased and tried to catch it,” Skinner said. “We don’t run across this much. It’s a very, very seldom thing.”

Neumann and Zeitler first saw the rooster a week ago as they were driving on Grove Street and found it in their courtyard Tuesday afternoon.

“Native Americans believe that anytime an animal enters your life, there’s a reason or symbol,” Zeitler said. “There’s a symbolism of falling in a hole you couldn’t get out of. The bird can’t fly out of the courtyard.

“The bird chose safety and refuge from the city and the construction,” Zeitler said. “It’s probably a good omen of things to come. It certainly represents safety for those who come here.”

Synchronicity Wellness Studio, 1103 Washington St., offers yoga, aerobics, stress management, massage and consegrity wellness. The courtyard in the back is 30 feet long and 15 feet wide and is bordered by concrete walls that are about 15 feet high.

The rooster was caught shortly before 2 Wednesday afternoon by Skinner and Mays and was taken to the animal shelter. Animal control kept the first rooster a few days and fed it, then sent it to the Animal Rescue League in Jackson. They have plans to send the second soon.

“It’s very, very rare will we have a situation like this,” Skinner said. “In my long period of time working here, I can recall a situation such as this maybe twice.” Skinner said that he has worked with animal control 18 years.

“I don’t expect any more roosters,” he said. “I was really surprised when they called me.”

Once common in the city, keeping chickens is now rare though not illegal. The ordinance requires they be contained to a person’s property however, and not used for fighting.