Cockfighters lose feral chicken complaint contract with City

Cockfighters lose feral chicken complaint contract with City

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the past eight years if you complained to the city about noisy roosters the Royos family responded.  However they are also self proclaimed cock-fighters.  Something their family has done for generations.

"It's the fox guarding the henhouse.  It was no surprise that there wasn't resolution to citizens concerns about crowing roosters or feral fowl," said Inga Gibson, Humane Society of the United States.

For years the Humane Society of the United States was appalled cock-fighters were paid $60,000 a year to catch chickens.  But now the city says the Royos' were underbid by a mere eight cents.  Therefore the Royos' are out and Frank DeGiacomo with Animal Haven Inc. is in.

The city is also adding accountability. Animal Haven, the new contractor will have to document how many chickens are seized, where they came from and where they were taken.

"That was an issue we had with the previous contractors, because of their admission to cockfighting we didn't know if these birds were themselves being used in cockfighting operations or for breeding and selling and other illegal purposes," said Gibson.

The Royos' say they helped the city out when no one else would. Pat Royos displayed mixed emotions about losing the contract. She says she is happy she'll be able to take a vacation now, but will also miss working with the people they met over the years.

How does the City feel?

"Ultimately this is an example of the procurement system working," said Doug Chin, City of Honolulu Managing Director.  "When we put out the new contract for bid we were able to look at a lot of different criteria, not just how much was the person bidding, but also what was going to be their methodology for how they would control the roosters as well as their qualifications and experience and putting all those things together the winning bidder turned out to be who they were and we're pleased the system works."

The Humane Society thinks the city should have a licensing process, similar to dogs and cats, to legitimize chickens as pets.  Or they suggest an outright ban on chickens in residential areas.  Those attempts have failed in the past, but it's a new day and anything can happen.

Chicken complaints can still be made to the city's hotline at 808-783-8199.  However that number will go to the Royos.  The city will have to update the phone number by the time the new contract begins October 1.

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