MAIL CALL: After our column about the proposal of new rules regarding chickens, goats and bees in Long Beach, readers have been clucking and whinnying and buzzing with concerns and fears, with the main beefs having to do with what scatologists refer to as "No. 2."
"May Tim enjoy the fragrances from the chicken pens," writes hex-caster Marilyn Stanley McKellips on Facebook. "People don't pick up after the animals they have now."
Another, from a fellow who called us at 6:30 on a school morning, left a message that we should "bring more attention to the fact that the chicken and goats will increase the number of flies. There are already too many flies. It's made the environment, particularly in Belmont Shore, horrible. You can't even spend a nice day in the yard because of the flies. People close their garbage container lids, but the trash collectors always leave them open, and that attracts more flies."
OK, we don't know what to say about that, but presumably, or at least ideally, chicken ranchers will use chicken output for fertilizing their crops. In gratitude, the chickens will eat annoying insects and God will be in his heaven.
"NO. DON'T WANT TO LIVE CLOSE TO A FAMILY THAT HAS A ROOSTER CROWING AT 5 IN THE MORNING. LONG BEACH IS GOING TO HELL IN A BASKET," texts Michael O'Brien on his hysterical cellphone.
The truth is, very few people want to live close to a family that has a rooster crowing at 5 in the morning. You're not allowed now, nor will you be allowed under the new rules, to have a rooster. Because they make too much noise. You'll only be allowed to have gently clucking chickens. Forget being jarred from sleep; you'll have more trouble keeping from being lulled to sleep early.
A couple of alarmists checked in. On Facebook, Leslie Abrahams Gosling predicted a scene out of Revelations, "next there will be backyard slaughtering of the chickens, goats and more." And Seal Beach Dan, who admitted that he doesn't think the chicken/goat thing is a bad idea, wonders if the city isn't opening a Pandora's Box. "What about exotic pets, like a lion or a tiger. If I can have a chicken, why can't I have a python?" Well, just because you can't, that's why. Why can't we have a python if we have a dog? That's it: We're getting a python.
And, in fact, we might get a lion or a tiger, too, to take care of our burgeoning and lively mice population. After writing about that plague, Greg on Monlaco called to advise us that "the best answer for mice around the house is a cat. A neighbor's cat, an alley cat, any kind of cat will do. And if that doesn't work, get another one."
OK, we admit that the cat is looking like a good idea. But, then, what about the problem posed by reader Paula, who sends her future column request, with a nice preamble: "I enjoy your column. I do not like your detractors. I wonder if you'd be interested in doing a column about how to keep cats from using other people's planters and flower beds as their personal litter boxes.
We wonder if a variation on some of today's mailbag responses might be the answer. Get a dog. A neighbor's dog, an alley dog, any kind of dog will do.
And if that doesn't work, get a python.
Our unwillingness to slaughter the little mice earned us a nice pat on the back from our pal at Wilson, Wes Edwards: "OK, so you are a known Wilson grad, liberal, anti-war, pro-gay, libertarian type, but now, animal rights? We applaud you again!"
Then, Edwards told us a story about a mouse "waltzing" across his son's chest in his sleep. That kept us up all night.
Finally, our failure thus far using Havahart traps, drew this from Christina Nigra Johnson who, like us, is a bleeding heart nonviolent sort: "Thank you for trying Havahart! I have used them with great success. The key is to find the right bait, so try different things. Compassion often takes courage, which is why it is in too short supply. Please don't give up!"