Chicken that crossed road let off fine by California court

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Monday, May 30, 2005

The $54 fine incurred by the owners of a chicken in Johannesburg, California, has been thrown out of court.

The owners, Linc and Helena Moore, had been complaining to the local authorities about children riding bicycles in the middle of the road and their neighbours' dogs running around, and assert that as a consequence when their chicken escaped and wandered onto the road "it became a huge issue". They were fined $54 on March 26, 2005.

Under the California state code, livestock is banned from highways, but not domestic animals. The fine was dismissed when Henry Mosier, the public defence lawyer for the couple, argued that the chicken was not livestock but a domesticated animal. The chicken also has an unalienable right to "get to the other side".

The Kern County Sheriff's Department has denied the allegation that the couple were fined because of their complaints, and the couple are seeking legal assistance for filing harassment charges against the department.