The wild roosters and chickens in Ybor City were at the center of debate and laughter at the Tampa City Council meeting on Thursday.
At the direction of outgoing Chairman Frank Reddick, the council was looking at ways to remove or limit the population of wild fowl that roam the streets of Tampa's historic neighborhood. The Ybor residents who spoke at the council meeting were split. Many defended the birds, saying they are a part of the neighborhood’s Cuban heritage.
Anthony LaColla, chairman of the Ybor City Development Corporation, said the bird population has exploded in recent years and they have become a nuisance for residents and visitors.
"It's nearly impossible to sleep now," LaColla said. "If there was another type of infestation of any other type of animal, the city would be down there immediately trying to take care of the situation."
Councilman Harry Cohen said the city did not want to get rid of the birds all together, just reduce their numbers.
"It does seem to me that perhaps rooster birth control is the answer we are looking for," he said to a roomful of laughter.
Things became more serious when representatives from Tampa Code Enforcement told the council it would cost at least $15,000 dollars to trap and remove the Ybor chickens. Reddick instead suggested the city speak with local farmers who may re-home the birds at a lower cost.
The council passed a motion to have city officials identify more options for controlling the wild bird population and report back on July 19.