The tiny island of Key West off the southern tip of Florida has long been regarded as a tropical Shangri-La, a palm-shaded Margaritaville for outlaws, bohemians, and weekend hedonists. But there is trouble in paradise.
"Key West panel eyes plans to corral 1,600 wild chickens," blares the headline.
"Fed up with complaints about wild hens and roosters overrunning local neighborhoods and parks," says the lead paragraph of the Knight Ridder story, "the Key West City Commission has approved a plan that, in concept, calls for a mass roundup and relocation of the pesky birds."
Note the use of the term "in concept." Myself, I would think that there'd be nothing conceptual about chicken herding. You would either do it or you wouldn't. "In concept," then, is probably a euphemism for "if we can actually pull this thing off."
I mean, I don't know a lot about chicken corralling, but I would think that you don't herd them as easily as you do, say, cattle or sheep or American consumers. I imagine squawking poultry running around the countryside like, well, like chickens with their heads cut off, except their heads would still be on, presumably, while guys on horseback spin lassos over their heads as their mounts abruptly rear up, since they constantly have to change direction in pursuit of the marauding poultry.
"Although many locals and tourists consider the free-roaming chickens part of Key West's uniqueness and charm," the article continues, "some residents are ruffled by the constant crowing and daily droppings in their yards, and want the birds removed."
Key West Assistant City Manager John Jones is one of the ruffled ones.