When chickens come home to roost next door

He told me he has tried working things out with his neighbor, to no avail.

"The neighbor even offered me eggs one time," said Smith, "but I'm a vegan."

Smith said he suggested that the neighbor bring his chickens indoors at night and put diapers on them, but that didn't go over very well.

I made two trips to Granada Hills to investigate, once at 5:50 a.m. to consider whether the noise would wake me up too (probably), and once to meet Chris Miramontes, an L.A. city firefighter and owner of the chickens.

Miramontes said he and his wife and three children are trying to limit their supermarket runs. He told me he's not a survivalist, but he got into raising chickens and organic farming through something called the Survival Podcast. The website sums up its mission like this: "Helping you live a better life, if times get tough or even if they don't."

Miramontes said he wants to be a good neighbor, and he got rid of a duck and three hens to cut down the noise. But he's got eight hens left, and he's legal. And if the question is what came first, the chicken or the neighbor, the answer is the former.

"I feel like I'm being bullied — told what I can and can't do on my own property," Miramontes said.

The city attorney's office — which by the way is investigating chicken complaints in Sherman Oaks — has referred the Granada Hills poultry case to the LAPD's Noise Enforcement Team to see if the clucking exceeds legal limits.

But I don't see this ending well for Smith, who committed to a 12-month lease in April. If Laura Bonilla is willing to give it a try, hypnosis might be his only hope.

steve.lopez@latimes.com

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