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Roswell's Chicken Man Heads Back to Court

Andrew Wordes' failure to perform court-ordered community service has him headed back to court.

UPDATED: Aug. 3, 9:05 a.m. - Roswell's ongoing battle with Andrew Wordes, better known as the city's "Chicken Man," will move back into a courtroom Aug. 9 when he is scheduled to appear before Municipal Court Judge Maurice Hilliard for a probation revocation hearing.

Wordes, who earned his nickname because of the the dozens of chickens he keeps on his property, has been in a constant battle with the city of Roswell over its ordinances. Last fall he entered an Alford plea - which asserts innocence, but admits that he could be found guilty by the prosecution - for having too many cars on his property and for illegally grading his yard. He was ordered to perform 180 hours of community service, in lieu of a $1,500 fine, and placed on probation.

That was nine months ago. Wordes, says he has been doing his community service, but admits he has had some trouble doing as much as he used to, recently.

"I always checked in for probation as required but I missed two appointments recently," he said. "Once was in June immediately after doing community service that my probation officer was aware of; and then, in July, just after my house was was vandalized, my chickens killed and I had just gotten home from the hospital and was heavily medicated do to a chronic health issue."

Wordes claims there was never a question of "shirking" his responsibilities and that he has been in touch with officers from the Roswell Police Department on a continual basis.  

Wordes says, his ongoing problems with the city are more about his chickens and the city's desire to see him move outside its limits than any one particular ordinance. He claims he is being harassed by the city.

In 2009, Wordes defeated the city’s efforts to rid him of his chickens when Hilliard ruled the city's ordinance was unconstitutional. The ordinance was then rewritten but it couldn't be applied to Wordes who had been "grandfathered" in.

"I chose to live in Roswell because I really loved this area," Wordes said. "I raise the chickens as a hobby, not for a living. This fighting with me over these chickens has just grown to be ridiculous."

To support his his claim of being singled out by the city, Wordes says, he is constantly being followed by Roswell police.

"I've had 30 traffic stops in the city of Roswell in the last 18 months and none anywhere else," he said.

He also claims the Fulton County Health Department and Fulton County Animal Services visited the property at the city's request.

"Just for the record, Fulton County Health [Department] determined there were violations at my house; my fire wood was not properly stacked and had to be elevated six onches off of the ground and on a pallet and my lawnmowers were not covered from the rain. Fulton County Animal Services said my animals were all well cared for and there were no violations at all," Wordes told Roswell Patch.

Assistant City Attorney Bob Hulsey says Wordes' claim of harassment simply is not true.

"Absolutely not." Hulsey said Friday. "I've tried to deescalate the situation. I've even tried to get the solicitor to hold off on any criminal charges against Mr. Wordes. But he was supposed to report monthly to perform community service (since November 2010) and he's reported only twice. He was ordered to perform 180 hours of service and has only done between 20 and 30 hours."

Wordes, however, remains unconvinced.

He says the city "intimidated" his elderly mortgage holder into selling it at a reduced rate to someone who is now attempting to foreclose on the property. Wordes and his neighbor - who was just foreclosed upon recently after 18 years - believe the city should apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to purchase the properties, which have been damaged by flooding.

"I’m right and I don’t have a problem fighting for what I believe in," he said. "There's no question about that."

janet h russell August 02, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Interesting: 180 hours of community service for too many cars on his property and improperly grading his land but the Fellowship Christian School had 48 outstanding violations for 5 years against conditions that were required to build their school and they never received one citation or punishment. In fact the Roswell City Council rewarded them by approving their request for night lights and a PA at their football stadium even though it had been rejected by the courts 5 years ago. I wonder why a taxpayer is punished but a non taxpaying school is not? Sure is curious to me.
Michael Reissig August 03, 2011 at 02:50 AM
This punishment was made to be extreme. The illegal grading to his property was an attempt to protect it from the overbuilding that Roswell allowed, including the Fellowship Christian School. I didn't know about their outstanding violations.
Andrew Wordes August 03, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Excellent comment Janet H. Russell! I can only assume that part of the problem is because I never made any political contributions to any of the current city council members. So it seems THE TAXPAYERS of Roswell on the advise of our City Attorney; David Davidson wasted $200,000 taking Fellowship Christian School to the GA Supreme Court a few years ago to keep them from doing what the Roswell City Council just voted to allow them to do. Am I the only one who sees a problem here?
janet h russell August 03, 2011 at 09:16 PM
I have lived in Roswell for 38 years and I cannot recall one case that the City has won in all those years EXCEPT for the case against the Fellowship School. A school with an enrollment of 220 sits on 37 acres and if covered with sports fields and a tiny classroom building. I guess "love thy neighbor" doesn't include "love thy neighbor(hood)". And Blessed are the Quarter backs , tennis players, basketball forwards and guards for those sports are the reason our school exists". Mr. Reisig, I learned of the 48 outstanding violations at the City Council Meeting in May when Mr. Townsend of the Community Development Dept gave his report to Council. It is a matter of public record.
Andrew Wordes August 08, 2011 at 06:31 AM
And just how much do we pay our "gifted" City Attorney who gets us embroiled in all of these battles? He is he one who says he can win qand is following the law but so far the chickens are winning 3 to 0. I think he'd be getting tired of getting egg on his face and his newest lawsuit is the FIRST in the HISTORY of ROSWELL and he is suing to take my propery from me. From everyhing the my lawyer and other lawyers have told me he will probably be consistent and lose again. Is anyone but me getting tired of his contstant harassment of a law abiding citizen that is costing this city hundreds of thousands of dollars and will cost them much more when they have to settle my civil suits or have a jury smack them with a MILLION dollar verdict.
janet h russell August 08, 2011 at 01:36 PM
I wonder how many homeowners know what is the correct, government authorized way to stack wood? Perhaps we can now get a "wood patrol" in the neighborhoods to enforce the stacking rule. And I didn't know you couldn't leave your lawnmower outside to get wet? I thought you could do what you want with your lawnmower after all its garden equipment. This is like Act 3 in a theatre of the absurd.
Andrew Wordes August 08, 2011 at 02:08 PM
I think the Fulton County wood stacking rule and most of Roswell Zoning Code only apply to ME! One guess who filed the complaints and requested Fulton County Health Department investigate me? Of course the City of Roswell and when Fulton County found those problems that I corrected The City of Roswell then contacted Fulton County Health Department AGAIN and asked them to accompany Fulton Animal Control to my house to investigate me and they said my animals where well housed, well fed and well cared for. My probation REVOCATION HEARING for trying to save my house from flooding storm water is Wednesday at 2:00 at Roswell Municipal Court
Don Edwards August 08, 2011 at 09:14 PM
I thought the hearing was scheduled for tomorrow, the ninth? We'll be there with you in spirit. I hope many turn out to support you!
Andrew Wordes August 08, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Thanks Don Edwards! Because of conflicting court schedules for me, my Probation Revocation hearing in Roswell Municiple Court had to be rescheduled for Wednesday.

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