How Media Coverage Might Just Help Save Coco the Rooster

When the life of Aaron’s beloved pet rooster, Coco was threatened by city officials, Aaron Rosenzweig showed that he isn’t chicken. Aaron stood up for what he believed in, started a Change.org petition, and used local media to put pressure on his city council.

Aaron and his family have a brood of pet chickens nicknamed the Kardashi-hens. They live a coop called “Cluckingham Palace” on Aaron’s lawn. But after a complaint by a neighbour and a run in with animal control, Aaron learned that Gaithersburg has a rooster ban on the books. That meant that Coco the rooster - and his hens who were mistaken for roosters - were outlaws.

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Aaron started a Change.org petition targeting his city council to protest the rooster ban and spoke at his  city council meetings. It was at one of these occasions that Aaron was approached by a journalist from his local newspaper, The Sentinel. “He wanted to know the rest of the story,” said Aaron.

Aaron knew that media coverage in the local paper would put a lot of pressure on the council. “I told the council representatives I would talk to The Sentinel if they didn’t fix the rooster ban.” When the council dug in, Aaron followed through with his threat and he gave the reporter from The Sentinel a call. Aaron had the journalists number from their previous meeting, but you can always look up a journalist on their organization’s website or by searching their name on Twitter.

“His name was Peter and he was a really nice guy,” said Aaron. “He came and saw the chicken coop. I think he was impressed. He knocked on doors and talked to some of the neighbors. He couldn’t find a single person who was unhappy about the chickens. He tried, but he was never able to speak to the neighbor who complained.”

Aaron was happy with the way the reporter handled the story. “He put a link to the petition in the print and web edition of the newspaper. After the article was run, we got another hundred signatures the very next day.”

“Never hesitate to speak to local reporters” said Aaron. “You are helping them as much as their are helping you. They love stories that are real and personal. If given the opportunity, they’d rather publish something you told them rather than go over recent crime statistics.”

Aaron plans to give the city council some time to reconsider before he goes back to them again. “I got the sense that the press coverage made them upset. It’s unfortunate, but I think they’ll see sense. When good people speak up positive change follows. No matter where you live, please take a moment to sign our petition.

Meet the Kardashi-hens:

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