Tempers boil in dispute over Issaquah rooster
December 10, 2009
By David Hayes
NEW — 12:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 2009
Issaquah icon McNugget the rooster became the center of controversy Tuesday and Wednesday when a group of concerned citizens were blocked from moving him to a warmer environment.
Kristen Parshall, and her friend Debby Welsh, both of Fall City, became worried about McNugget’s welfare in the face of the freezing weather reaching overnight lows in the teens and below.
“Our biggest concern is the winters,” said Parshall, a former employee of Posado’s Animal Rescue. “He needs to be in a coop with a heat lamp.”
Their first effort to catch McNugget was met with resistance from a barista who alerted Issaquah Grange Supply staff.
Parshall said an argument ensued over who could best provide for McNugget’s well being. Frustrated by the resistance, she and Welsh gave up.
Parshall said Welsh called the Grange the next day, this time asking for permission to remove McNugget.
“A manager said, ‘If you can catch him, you can keep him,’” Parshall said.
Yet again, they were met with resistance, this time from customers of the espresso stand and a couple of other employees from the Grange.
“I was really surprised,” Welsh said, who also volunteered at Posado’s. “They called us terrorists and crazy PETA people. The hostility was extraordinary.”
So extraordinary, that Issaquah police were called to the scene.
According to the police report, employees from the Grange and the espresso stand stated McNugget was fine. King County Animal Care and Control was contacted for information about the incident.
The police report said animal control representatives indicated Parshall and Welsh had no right to remove the animal from the property, as it was considered owned by the espresso stand owner. The owner was not at the scene at the time of the incident.
McNugget escaped from the nearby Issaquah Grange Supply years ago as a chick and adopted the parking lot of the now Staples store as its new home. Employees of the espresso stand in the lot adopted the rooster and gave him his name and a crate for shelter.
About three years ago, Parshall, a regular customer of the espresso stand, provided a home upgrade to a doghouse and stopped by occasionally to feed him.
She and Welsh’s concern for McNugget peaked when the temperatures dropped to overnight lows of 10 degrees.
“It also looked like his comb was frost-bitten,” Welsh said. “I just felt so bad for him, standing there shivering while I was feeding him.”
Parshall said she offered the espresso stand owner hundreds of dollars to purchase McNugget, but the offer was declined.
“I would leave them alone if they put up a proper coop with a heating lamp,” she added.
Parshall said they showed no inclination to take that measure either, even though the Grange sells both items.
Parshall and Welsh said they are far from quitting their crusade to provide McNugget a better home. They plan to stage a protest and alert other media sources to bring attention to McNugget’s plight.