DUFUR, Ore. -- Like many 5-year-olds, young Ayla Macnab has a best friend. Only her best friend, is a rooster. A silkie rooster, to be exact. His name is “Dallas,” and as Ayla will tell you, he’s not like other roosters.
“He has very feathery feet,” said Ayla, while cradling the 2-year-old rooster like a baby Tuesday evening. “He's very quite… he doesn’t crow that much, either.”
Not everyone in the Macnabs' tiny town of Dufur agrees with that.
Recently, a neighbor of the Macnabs filed a complaint. She said Dallas violated the city’s noise ordinance, which last year was amended to specifically include roosters. Since the Macnabs bought Dallas two years ago, they thought he’d be grandfathered in.
Reba Lloyd said she has nothing against chickens and hopes to have some of her own, as she did when she was a child - just not roosters.
"I think if you want a rooster, you need to live outside the city limits," she told The Dalles Chronicle. "That's my feeling."
“We want Dallas to stay with Ayla and live his life here with her,” said Ayla’s mother, Jill Macnab. “(Ayla) wants to show him in the fair. We just want Dallas to stay.”
The Macnabs aren’t alone in their hope. On Tuesday night, supporters from near and far packed Dufur City Hall, for a noise ordinance hearing. Some brought signs that said “Save Dallas.” Others signed an online petition to let the Macnabs keep their rooster. By the time the hearing was over, there were more than 22,000 signatures.
“I would be heartbroken if my child was going to lose something she loved, for what I think isn’t a good reason,” said Karren Middleton, who drove in from The Dalles with her two kids.
Dufur Mayor Arthur Smith presided over the noise ordinance hearing. For more than an hour, citizens of Dufur debated Dallas’ decibel levels. Most claimed the rooster’s noises had never bothered them.
“The rooster is just a little louder than his girlfriends,” reasoned one neighbor.
Smith said the city’s noise ordinance is driven by complaints, not decibels.
“If a citizen says (a noise) bugged them or woke them up, we don't go out and register amounts of decibels,” said Smith.
After the hearing, Smith concluded he would need another week to decide what to do about Dallas.
“Right now, I'm not sure,” he said. “I really want to let the heat of the moment (pass). I want to sit down and think about what's best for city of Dufur.”
Ayla will sleep on it, too. She got a head start at the hearing, nodding off on her mother’s lap. She had been up since 5 a.m, when she awoke to feed Dallas.