Parks cop raids Ridge chicken coop in major pluck up

Parks cop raids Ridge chicken coop in major pluck up
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Call it fowl play.

Acting on a tip, a Parks Department officer smashed the locks at a Bay Ridge botanical garden and seized six chickens — only to later discover that the cluckers were part of a kid’s program, not a pack of pests.

“She made a horrible mistake, but how could I stop her?” said Jimmy Johnson, a garden landscaper, who was at Narrows Botanical Garden for the raid. “It was tragic.”

The chicken caper began after a neighbor — whom workers say has it out for the Garden — complained to the city that the hens were “kept improperly” and are diseased.

Rather than investigate, the Parks officer swiped the “big, fat beautiful chickens” with no cause, explained Johnson, then took them to an animal shelter, where they were adopted by a family in Red Hook.

A horrified Johnson then phoned Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey to demand his babies back. The commissioner reviewed the case and decided that the garden had good reason to cry fowl: The city had plucked up.

The lock-clipping cop was reprimanded, and Johnson got his hens back three days later.

The four-acre parkland on Shore Road — where green-thumbed workers grow herbs, keep bees and feed fish in a small pond — isn’t a likely setting for a shakedown.

Schools and day camps tour the lush community garden, along with the chicken coop, which gives city kids a rare glimpse at nature.

“It’s great to see them connect what’s on their plate with how it gets there,” said Helen Bruno, a teacher at Bay Ridge Preparatory School, which has brought students to the garden.

Johnson has calmed down a bit, but he’s still annoyed at the complaint-prone neighbor.

“I’m not going to take this any more,” he said. “This man is just plain vicious.”

But Jeffrey had a more live-and-let-live approach to the hen-tastrophe.

“There was a misunderstanding,” Jeffrey said. “The lock has been replaced. The chickens have come home … to roost.”

One of the six chickens confiscated by the Parks Department from the Narrows Botanical Garden coop. He looks happy to be back home.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta