Multnomah County Animal Services officers removed 52 chickens, roosters and turkeys from a backyard in Gresham on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The animals are still at the Troutdale animal shelter but their owners were scheduled to pick them up and take them to a new home on Thursday, March 7, said John Rowton, spokesman for Multnomah County Animal Services in Troutdale.

They actually tried to take them home the day before but determined that their minivan wasn’t large enough to hold them all, Rowton added.

Animal control officials removed the birds from a backyard at 250 N.E. 202nd Ave. after the house was foreclosed on and the residents evicted, said Lt. Steve Alexander, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

A dog and a cat also were removed from the property.

“This is a first for me,” Rowton said of such a large number of fowl being removed from a property. “It wasn’t an easy catch.”

Neighbors reported that animal control officials spent more than six hours catching the birds that lived in a backyard that included a shed and shacks. “This is I think qualified to be a bunch,” said a neighbor who asked to be identified only as Art. “It’s atrocious. A filthy dirty mess.”

The man and his wife said they heard the birds but never complained to Gresham code enforcement officials. Residents with the proper permit are allowed to keep as many as three hens in backyards in regulated coops and runs, but roosters are illegal. Portland allows up to three hens without a permit but beyond that number, permits are required.

Rowton said the shelter does not put fowl up for adoption as it does dogs and cats because not everyone considers poultry to be a pet.

As for where the owners of the 52 removed birds plan to relocate them, Rowton said they only said they no longer living in Gresham and don’t live in Portland.

Such a large number of poultry could legally live in unincorporated Multnomah County, but animal control officials don’t require customers to provide an address.

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