PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Philadelphia may not be the first city that comes to mind when you think of farm animals. Yet sometimes, critters like Roadrunner the Rooster are found clucking through the streets.
The Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, ACCT Philly, says he's not the first, but he may be the most popular.
"He is exceptionally friendly. He has cultivated quite the fan club," said Aurora Velazquez, the Executive Director of ACCT Philly. "And he's certainly the first rooster that I've seen here that walks around on a leash."
Roadrunner was picked up as a stray on the city streets a few weeks ago. The staff at ACCT Philly says that shelters nationwide have difficulty placing chickens in adoptive homes or animal rescues.
That's because these social birds have needs just like cats and dogs.
"The city isn't the right environment for roosters," said Velazquez. "They need enrichment just like a dog needs to be walked or a cat needs to be played with."
Philadelphia is unique among other large cities since it is illegal to keep roosters as backyard pets. Although efforts have been made in recent years to change this law, the staff at ACCT Philly wants city chicken-lovers to think twice.
"If people want backyard chickens, they need to have enough space for them for a flock and have proper enclosures for them that both keep them contained and also protect them from outside predators" said Sarah Barnett, Director of development and Communications at ACCT Philly.
That's why Barnett is relieved that Last Chance Ranch in Quakertown has rescued ACCT's chicken tenants.
"They have a farm, they have space, they have all the care that he and his other rooster buddy really need," said Barnett.
These roosters add to the roster of exotic animals taken in by ACCT, which also includes turtles, lizards, a goat and even an alligator. It's their job to find a proper home for those animals that can be adopted or rescued.
Anyone who is interested in adopting a farm animal can visit adoptapet.com to find a nearby rescue. In the meantime, ACCT continues to hold adoptions of cats and dogs and offers limited shelter visitation due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
"Especially with COVID, we're getting a lot of animals surrendered and a lot of animals that are coming to us because people can no longer care for them," said Barnett. "But you're also getting more requests for people to adopt."
Barnett says that ACCT is more like a waystation for animals to either be adopted or rescued.
The shelter recently endured a 20% budget cut to the tune of nearly $900,000. However, they are celebrating the acquisition of more building space to house their sheltered animals in North Philadelphia.
"We're also very grateful for the community for really stepping up and helping us," said Barnett. Anyone interested in supporting the shelter can donate or send items directly via their Amazon wishlist.
And ACCT is ready to help the community in return.
Anyone who is struggling to care for a pet they currently own can reach out to ACCT Philly for financial or material support. To learn more about the shelter, visit acctphilly.org.