Columbia man reports theft of pet chickens

Friday, March 14, 2014 | 9:03 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A southwest Columbia man blames vandals for swiping four chickens from his front yard Tuesday morning.

Will Paulus came home from a doctor's appointment early Tuesday afternoon to find that half of his eight-bird flock — two Mottled Cochin Bantam hens, a Buff Brahma hen and a Buff Brahma rooster  — had gone missing.

Paulus, who lets his birds free-range during the day, said it's not unusual for the occasional chicken to fall victim to a coyote or a neighbor's dog. It was the lack of feathers or blood, coupled with the alarmed behavior of his German shepherd, that made Paulus suspect something was wrong.

In response, Paulus reported both his missing birds and a stolen Moultrie trail camera to Columbia police. This was the second instance that Paulus had been in contact with police in the last month. Since February, Paulus said he has found his lawn-mower tires slashed, his truck egged and the side window of his house broken. But this latest incident, he said, is hard not to take personally.

"I'm beyond enraged right now," Paulus said. "You don't take a man's pets."

Paulus doesn't raise his chickens for meat, breeding them instead for their eggs and to keep as companion animals. Although he was first opposed to the idea when an ex-wife introduced it to him, Paulus has come to love raising chickens as a rewarding hobby that he says is both fun and therapeutic.

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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