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Rooster on the run in Culpeper
DONNIE JOHNSTON/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
A police car cruises slowly past the railroad tracks early Friday afternoon and starts down Spencer Street in Culpeper.
The officer at the wheel cautiously scans both sides of the avenue as he drives.
Freddie crouches down under an English boxwood and waits for the cruiser to pass. He doesn't move a muscle until the vehicle is out of sight.
Finally, when he senses the danger is past, Freddie creeps out from his hiding place and looks around. For now the coast is clear, so he makes his way across the street to the cover offered by the buildings and storage bins at County Farm Service.
It's a tough life when you're a wanted rooster on the run.
Still, as with Butch Cassidy or Pancho Villa, most of those in the neighborhood look out for Freddie and would not dare betray him to the police.
As this police cruiser drives by, a man standing in the yard behind the boxwood is very much aware of where Freddie was hiding. He turns his back until the cop car had passed.
The day before when an all-points bulletin regarding "a rooster on the loose" went across the police scanner, workers at a nearby machine shop made a quick call to County Farm Service advising the folks there to hide Freddie if possible.
The manager at the Bingham and Taylor Foundry across the railroad tracks has warned all his employees to drive slowly to make sure the renegade rooster stays safe.
Yes, everyone in this Culpeper neighborhood--from Fairfax Avenue to East Street--is intent on aiding and abetting the fugitive fowl.
All except one.
"Somebody apparently called animal control and complained about him," says County Farm Service's James Utz. "The dog warden came over here looking for him and the cops have been on his trail ever since."
Donnie Kilby, who manages County Farm, thinks the town police need to get off his feathered friend's case. When an investigator showed up at 7 a.m. Wednesday looking for Freddie, Kilby says he gave the officer a piece of his mind.
"I told him it was ridiculous," the farm store manager says. "We're taking care of Freddie."
But police Chief Chris Jenkins said that some person--he won't say who--is sick and tired of Freddie crowing at 4:30 in the morning.