Norco, a blossoming desert town (to put it nicely) in the northwest corner of Riverside County, used to be just the kind of no-man's-land where 25 to 50 early-rising roosters would go unheard by everyone but the farmer's wife and the tumbleweeds.

Not anymore! Just call it desert gentrification: “City regulations were intended for rural ranch-type neighborhoods where individuals could house many roosters without disturbing neighbors,” writes the Riverside Press-Enterprise today. “But neighborhoods now are more densely populated.”

Cue the classic neighbor-on-neighbor feud…

… essential to any community with growing pains (the poor man's equivalent of tropical birds keeping hipster heros from their work in the Hollywood Hills).

Norco resident Adam Caudill's mornings begin at 4 a.m. with dozens of roosters crowing from two homes nearby, continuing all day and, at times, reaching 90 decibels.

He purchased the house in a densely populated Norco neighborhood about two months ago, unaware of the noise. …

[City Code Enforcement Office Ken Swank] said the residents are keeping the roosters at two homes. They have not allowed him onto the property. But neighbor reports say about 25 roosters are on each lot.

Like Echo Park, but with squawky man-chickens instead of violent gang members!

In response to Caudill's complaint, city officials took it upon themselves to form what is probably the best task force we've ever heard of: The Rooster Subcommittee. It's long overdue, too: The Press-Enterprise reports that existing regulations only specify that 75 or more roosters need at least nine acres of space.

The team will also spend some time on the area's cockfighting problem — arguably a tad more pressing than Caudill's quality-of-life issues. In Kern County next door, a 35-year-old named Jose Luis Ochoa actually died last January, after a fighter cock “who had a long, razor-sharp spur attached to it, stabbed Ochoa in the leg,” as reported by the Weekly. And that's not to speak of the poor birds. At another recent bust in the San Fernando Valley, we reported that “authorities said they found 50 roosters, a 'cockfighting arena' covered by tarps, and 'several' dead birds that had been 'groomed for fighting.'” About 40 onlookers scattered when sheriff's deputies pulled up.

Now, Norco City Councilman Kevin Bash tells the Press-Enterprise that cockfighting, which was a big problem in the '70s and '80s, is “slowly creeping back.”

But the mystery Norco residents currently pissing off their neighbors are reportedly only raising the roosters as an “exotic birds operation” for “hobby purposes or monetary purposes.” Do we smell a highly coveted tail-feather farm on our eastern horizon?

In other rants Riverside County rants: Just secede already, will you?


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