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COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)
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Chicken Murder Ruffles Feathers

Source: NBC Philadelphia
Date: April 6, 2010
Byline: Teresa Masterson

Don’t play chicken with Lower Merion police and firemen

Orange chicken was on the day’s menu for one Lower Merion fireman last week. He did not know until later that his prey was a pet.

Lower Merion police received a call for a “large, orange chicken running at large” on a local lawn last week. So the responding officer called his fireman friend, who took care of the situation with a bow and arrow.

The fireman later ate the chicken, sources told NBC Philadelphia.

At the time, neither the officer nor the fireman knew the trespassing chicken was a local woman’s pet. They simply thought it was a danger to domestic animals in the neighborhood, said police.

"I was very surprised and disappointed because I'd been looking for the darn thing for 24 hours," Lauren Steltzer told the Daily News. "Here, an hour after it disappeared, they shot it — with a bow and arrow!"

Stelzer, 48, lost one of her pet chickens last week and plastered Facebook and her Lower Merion neighborhood with her “Chickens on the Lam” notices.

She found out about the violent demise of her feathered friend from a neighbor who had heard about the fireman’s use of his archery skills on March 29.

"The department's opinion is that the officer could have used much better judgment in the resolution of this issue," Lower Merion Lt. Christopher Polo told the Daily News.

According to police, the chicken murder was not illegal. Poultry is not protected under state gaming law.

"When the officer located it, he felt that it was a threat to other domestic animals," Polo said. "He decided that the animal needed to be dispatched."

Police said the investigation is ongoing.