[Story by Mike Foley, originally published in Kaleo, May 18, 2000]
Since the notice appeared in the May 4th issue of Kaleo, the story was picked up by the Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu Star-Bulletin — which added an editorial cartoon, MidWeek and even CNN national. LCA board health and education director Gerry Nihipali has also done radio interviews with KHNR, KGU and KUMU, which has even offered to match the $1 per chicken brought in, up to $100, that LCA will pay to Laie Scout troops who help with the round up. Hawaii Reserves, Inc., has also agreed to match the first $250 in chicken bounties.
Then there are the phone calls: Nihipali said people with stray chicken concerns have called from Kaaawa, Punaluu, Kaneohe, Kailua, Aiea, St. Louis Heights, Hawaii Kai and Waimanalo.
Was she surprised? “No, I’m not surprised,”?Nihipali responds. It’s just that some people tell me their whole chicken history. How they started out with just one rooster and hen, and now it’s whole families; and could I please come and pick them up.
“We’re just doing this for Laie,” Nihipali stressed, adding she expects to collect at least 200 chickens on May 20th. And, yes, she’s heard lots of jokes about eating the chickens, but agrees most people aren’t serious about that.
Nihipali also asked Kaleo to help inform would-be chicken wranglers that:
• Scouts and others should get permission before going on anyone’s property. Bona fide chicken owners may not want their fowls rustled.
• The $1 offer is only for Scout troop fundraising.
• The chickens should be taken to Laie Park from 6:30-10 a.m., May 20th and 27th, where they will be secured in ventilated cardboard boxes containing water and food.
• Each chicken will be checked and treated for lice, parasites, wounds, and broken bones by Wildlife Connection personnel, under the direction of Cindy Georges, who will then find appropriate homes or uses for them.
As the Clint Eastwood character used to say on the old TV show Rawhide: “Head ’em up. Move ’em out.”