Monday, June 15, 2009

Mr. Clucky

The Miami Herald Monday, June 08, 2009

Miami Beach wants to evict famous riding rooster Mr. Clucky

In the live-and-let-live annals of Miami Beach, the city has embraced a disparate cast of characters: the cross-dressing former cabbie who jives to '60s hits for change; the woman who walks her iguanas in a pram built for two; and the middle-aged man who makes custom paintings with his toes, to name a few.

But you have to draw the line somewhere, and so the city has decreed that Mr. Clucky -- the bike-riding rooster known for weaving his way through the laid-back crowds at Lincoln Road Mall -- must go.

The morning of May 27, a code enforcement officer showed up at owner Mark Buckley's Jefferson Avenue studio apartment, where the bird sleeps in the closet.

'He said, `Don't shoot the messenger. I love Mr. Clucky,' '' said Buckley, who rescued the battered, 6 1/2-pound animal more than two years ago from the streets. The officer took a photo of the bird and his female companion, a homebound black hen named Wallflower, and handed over a ticket.

Someone had complained, presumably about the rooster's habit of crowing every morning at 6 a.m. sharp. The city had to investigate.

The charge: keeping farm animals. The punishment: a $50 fine. Buckley was given 10 days to get rid of the chickens or appeal. But the 54-year-old construction worker who props the bird on the handlebars of his red Schwinn as he -- Buckley, not the rooster -- pedals the beach is not backing down.

''What are they going to do?'' asked Buckley, whose passenger has graced ds for animal activist causes, not to mention thousands of tourist photos, becoming an unofficial city mascot.

The animal has his own website -- -- and MySpace page.

''He's a staple of Lincoln Road,'' said Elina Aran, 23, who is a bartender on the strip at Zeke's and was surprised to hear the rooster may be evicted. ``It's what makes South Beach great -- the weirdos.''

South Beach is known today for its exclusive dance clubs, haute cuisine and chiseled bodies, but at one point, the buzz was more about its eccentricity.

''Everybody used to have a Mr. Clucky of some kind,'' said Brian Antoni, a 20-year Miami Beach resident and author of South Beach: The Novel. ``What's next, cats?''

At least one person has offered Clucky a new home if he's ousted from the beach.

''Send him to Coconut Grove,'' said Glenn Terry, founder of that city's King Mango Strut, an annual parade of all things odd. Clucky served as the grand marshal last fall.

Clucky and his less-celebrated mate -- Wallflower, not Buckley -- might yet be given a reprieve if Buckley appeals the city's citation, said Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez.

''I don't know if we've ever gotten a complaint about Mr. Clucky riding around,'' she said, ``but it's not about what he does outside his home. It's about living with the rooster in the home.''

Friday afternoon, Buckley had handwritten a request for appeal on a lined piece of paper and said he plans to deliver it to Miami Beach City Hall with Clucky riding along, as always, like a feathered hood ornament.

''I've got nothing against the city,'' he said. ``It's just somebody trying to take down a happy little rooster.''

If he doesn't pay -- and if Clucky doesn't go -- Buckley stands to receive repeated violations and higher fines, said Fernandez. But arrest is not likely.

As for whether the city will go in and remove the rooster by force, Fernandez said that is still being figured out.


Amri said...

Yuck! Why would anyone hate a loveable cock? It makes me a little worried about my cock, Lord Firestar. Hope it turns out okay.

SPPA Leadership said...

Can you send a picture of Lord Firestar, Amri? Where are you located?