The Great Chicken Trial of Brentwood is nearing its final hearing in what has been described as the real ‘Trial of the Century’ (not OJ’s in his Brentwood, but the one here in the East Bay of Northern California). The incident started over a young woman who kept two hens in her backyard, which outraged a neighbor, who charged the hens with poop-bombing her yard, which would bring fatal diseases into her house and throughout the neighborhood.
The dispute was heard before the Brentwood Planning Commission during the week of Jan. 4 and spurred newspapers and Internet news sites to send reports of the trial around the world, making the chickens famous, even though their names were withheld due to their ages.
At the same time, a similar case was brought in Oakland, where the hens won … yes! … and resulted in Oakland declaring itself a “Chicken-friendly City.” As reported by the Contra Costa Times on Jan. 10, since the declaration was passed, the sounds of saws and hammers can be heard in the backyards of Oakland, as everyone is now building chicken coops. Yes! Power to the chickens!
The Brentwood case first went before the City Planning Commission, and having passed that hurdle, is now scheduled for the final round of the dispute before the Brentwood City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, Jan. 26, presided over by Mayor Bob Taylor. There will probably be many ruffled feathers to smooth during the caged proceedings.
A formal request has been sent to the mayor, petitioning that the hens be allowed to attend the meeting to observe the proceedings against them. Whether or not the hens testify is still up in the air. All parties are hoping that the mayor’s positive response will be forthcoming. The hens have the civil right to face their accusers. A big crowd is expected for the hearing next Tuesday, so come early. Expert witnesses may speak in the hens’ defense.
Watch for an upcoming exclusive interview with the now-famous chickens, which will for the first time reveal the names of the hens and their keeper, and include photos of the hens being interviewed. This will be a real scoop. Stand by.
Rev. Austin Miles is a pastor-chaplain with an area church who gets a kick out of life.