Peacock complaint stirs the town

Nick Balatsos (
“They’re feral now. You can kill ‘em...It’s no different than a feral dog or cat running around." - Excerpt from Brian Jensen police call.
It was about 5:30 in the morning, and he hadn’t slept in days. Nobody in his house had. Not his wife. Not his kids. He was desperate for a solution. He picked up the phone and dialed police.
“Hi, this is Brian Jensen … I was calling to see if someone would do something about the peacocks around here,” he told the dispatcher, according to a copy of the call obtained by the Independent through a records request.
“For three nights in a row, I haven’t slept, my kids haven’t slept. It’s out control. If it was a dog, people would be doing something about it,” Jensen went on. 
“Right,” the dispatcher responded, sounding thrown off by the unusual early-morning call, like she was trying to reach for an answer, while also trying to sound understanding.
Jensen told her about the male peacocks a couple blocks down from his house, how they crow till 11 p.m. and then start up again at 2 a.m. 
“It’s ridiculous,” he said, sounding exasperated.
“Umm ... let me talk to the animal control officer,” the dispatcher told him, “because I’m not real sure what we can do about them.” 
“They’re not a wild animal. They’re a feral pet as far as I can tell. You should be able to kill ‘em,” Jensen said. 
“They’re feral now. You can kill ‘em...It’s no different than a feral dog or cat running around.”
The dispatcher’s uneasiness grew. She told Jensen that someone would be in touch with him later that day and passed on the message to animal control. 
When he looked into it, Animal Control Officer Stuart McCrary decided to bring the police chief on board. 
“Chief, we have a problem with these peacocks,” he told Tim Hurd. 
“What’s the problem?” Hurd asked. 
“It’s mating season. They keep wailing at night.” 
The chief was familiar with peacocks from living in the south. He knew they could be loud  but also that people in the community enjoyed them and that their mating call only lasted a few months out of the year. In short, he was still waiting to hear the problem.
“Well, one person is complaining,” McCrary finally said.
As an aside, at one point after visiting the animals, he remarked, “Chief, this one peacock makes other peacocks look ugly.”
The two did some quick investigating. 
The birds had lived over by Shannon Drive for years, they found out. 
They lived primarily in the backyard of a man named William Rosales’ house. 
Rosales didn’t bring them there. They weren’t his pets per se. But for years, he’d fed them and helped keep them alive. 
And finally, they realized, the birds were, at least partially, out of their jurisdiction, as Rosales lived just across the town line in the county. 
So the sheriff’s office got involved. 
Undersheriff Justin Scott said that it was the first known “at-large peacock” case that his office had ever dealt with.
Because there isn’t a relevant county ordinance, and because the birds sometimes cross over into the city, he said the issue quickly became complicated. 
But eventually one of Scott’s deputies informed Rosales that the birds had to be removed, according to the police report.
One of the options for doing so under state law would have been to kill the birds. But Scott said that would have been an absolute last resort. 
It didn’t even cross his mind,  he said, and it didn’t need to because Hurd and McCrary stepped back in to resolve the issue.  
Fearing that the animals would be killed, Rosales called the police department and asked if there was anything they could do to help.
Hurd called around. He found some farms outside the state that would take them. 
But how would they get there?
Turns out, they could overnight them through U.S. Mail.
However, there was a catch: The birds first would have to lose their tail feathers or else they would never fit. 
But molting could take weeks. Was there time?
Hurd called the sheriff’s office to find out. He said the office was extremely helpful and was willing to wait. 
Deputies told him that they would contact Jensen, the complainant, and make sure he was OK with the new plan. He was.
Now, a couple weeks later, the peacocks have a few more options. There are a couple different farms they could go to: one in Colorado and another in South Dakota. They could go to a family friend’s place. Or there is a local rancher who said he would take them.
“I guess ranchers love them because they make great watchdogs,” McCrary, the animal control officer, said. “They’ll sound off at the slightest noise.”
Although it’s uncertain where they’re heading, the one surety at this point is that in a few weeks they’re leaving the neighborhood.
McCrary says that in cases like these as long as there is at least one justifiable complaint then officials have to act, no matter how many people disagree with the complainant.
And there seems to be a fair number of people who fall into that category. 
Megan Hatfield, who works at the post office and has lived on Grant Street for about a year, is one of them. 
“You can hear them at night and they’re not that loud. It’s really not a problem,” she said, adding that she likes seeing and hearing the birds. “I think they sound cool.” 
Interim Town Councilman Terry Gray voiced his disapproval on Facebook, writing, “Heard a rumor that there is a movement by an individual in town to remove the wild peacocks that live in the Grant Street Meadow. The complaint is that the male is too loud. 
“These birds have been here a very long time. Yep, the male peacock is pretty loud on some mornings. The question I have is: Why now?” 
Gray added that he “strongly” supported the birds staying put and encouraged people to contact their county commissioners about the issue. 
Dozens of people echoed the sentiment in the comments section.
“I live across the street,” Arlene Tiensvold wrote, “and I’m lucky enough to see these beautiful birds everyday. It’s just another sound in the neighborhood.”
“Leave them be!” wrote C.J. Lovato. 
And there were many more.
Meanwhile, the peacocks continue to do their thing. 
Last week, they were seen happily moving about the backyard-area.
They head-bobbed. They pecked at the ground. They lounged in the shade. They sat on a fence. They hung with the turkeys.
Wherever they went, their long tail feathers — green, black, yellow and turquoise —  trailed them, shimmering in the warm sunlight.
As they made their way through the tall brush around Shannon Drive, their blue necks poked out like two skinny poles.
Then, a sound rang out. 
“Squaw, Squaw!” 
Clearly, the birds had no idea the commotion they had caused.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

The Glenrock Independent is located in the Bronco Building

Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday - 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Subscriber Login