'Chickens die every day, people': Florida man arrested for killing neighbor's rooster claims self-defense

A Florida man is facing animal cruelty charges after investigators said he killed his neighbor's pet rooster

Jacksonville resident James Nix told Action News Jax he was checking his mail in mid-May when his neighbor's rooster began attacking him.

"I just checked my mail and turn around and go, and I hear, ’Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang!’ And I turn around, and there’s a chicken out there in the street. I said, ’Oh boy, here we go.’" he recalled. "Turn around, walk to my place – bang, bang, bang, bang, bang – now the chicken's in my yard! Now its neck flares up."

Nix said he picked up a stick in the yard and tried to hit it in self-defense, but with the rooster jumping at him, he accidentally knocked the bird in the head, killing it.

"I didn't know to give it a 21-gun salute!" Nix said. "CPR? Mouth-to-mouth? You know, or call the chicken ambulance?"

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His neighbor, James Defelice, doesn't believe the story. He told Action News Jax he thinks Nix killed his pet on purpose.

"I didn’t see my rooster at first, so I knew something was up because he would always come chase me," Defelice said. "Then, I went in [Nix's] yard and yelled at him, and he finally came out and said he killed him."

Defelice said children in the neighborhood told him that Nix, who lives across the street from him, had beaten the rooster.

He called the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and then contacted animal control. 

"Next thing you know, he calls the chicken police on me," Nix said.

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After animal control officers investigated, Nix was arrested for animal cruelty and spent 30 hours in jail.

He said he still doesn't understand why his neighbor called law enforcement on him over a dead rooster.

"Chickens die every day, people — at Church's, Popeyes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, really."