EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Pepe the Rooster wasn’t around long, but he made such a foul impression that town leaders want to ensure no rooster ever finds a home in the residential part of town again.
The Board of Selectmen is developing an anti-rooster ordinance after neighbors complained that Pepe’s loud crowing at his former home on Union Street last spring and summer disturbed them, especially during the predawn hours.
“He was a dumb rooster because he crowed all day,” Jamis Trothier, who lived nearby, said Friday. “I have a surround-sound system in my living room so I heard him only about three times before he was gone, but other neighbors had a problem with him.”
The ordinance proposes to disallow roosters “on any premises located within the Residential Development District” of the town, according to a draft written by Administrative Assistant Angela Cote. Penalties will range from $25 to $100 per day, with each day of violation considered a separate offense.
Selectmen will probably discuss the ordinance at their meeting at the town office at 4 p.m. Monday. If the draft passes a legal review and meets with selectmen’s approval, residents will vote on whether to enact the ordinance during the annual town meeting on June 9, Cote said.
Selectmen won’t likely broaden the ordinance to include other forms of livestock, such as chickens, because, as Cote said, “chickens don’t cock-a-doodle doo at 3 o’clock in the morning.”
The woman who owned Pepe is somewhat amused and exasperated by the feathers Pepe has ruffled. She said that she got the bird and five hens in March for her children, who love animals. They planned to care for the birds and the eggs the hens laid, but she got rid of the bunch in June in response to neighbors’ complaints.
“The dogs in the neighborhood are louder than the roosters,” said the woman, who was moving to another apartment in town Friday and declined to give her name. “People have snakes and all kinds of weird creatures in their homes that nobody ever complains about.”
East Millinocket wouldn’t be the first Maine town to adopt an anti-rooster ordinance. Cape Elizabeth did so last fall after similar complaints about noise. The Cape Elizabeth ordinance bans roosters on lots smaller than 40,000 square feet, just under 1 acre.
As for Pepe, the woman’s landlord, Roland Verrier, said he gave the bird to his daughter. Kimberly Verrier keeps Pepe at her home in rural Rhode Island, one of six roosters she owns, Verrier said.
“He is a happy rooster. He is with a whole bunch of hens,” Verrier said Saturday. “He has beautiful colors and he is very friendly. He walks up to my grandson and follows him everywhere.”
Verrier said he found the ordinance proposal puzzling.
“What’s wrong with having a rooster?” he said. “It’s not good to have a rooster but it’s OK for a big dumptruck to go by your house at 3 o’clock in the morning?”
Trothier said he wouldn’t want the anti-rooster ordinance to address other livestock.
“I don’t want to mow my lawn anymore,” Trothier said. “I want goats.”