The owner of six pet chickens in Corona del Mar claims a neighbor spread salt in his backyard — an attack he says could jeopardize the hens' health.
"Initially, I thought, 'Great, it's trying to kill the grass,'" Michael Resk said. "It was scattered where I planted raspberries and grapes. Then someone asked if it's bad for the chickens. That's when I looked."
Rock salt, he discovered, could cause salt toxicity of his "Goldenrod 6," which could lead to their renal failure and death.
The rock salt appeared in the grass in back of his home in the 300 block of Goldenrod Avenue sometime early Monday, Resk said.
After learning of the dangers of the salt, Resk said he moved the chickens and tried to clean the salt, but his efforts caused the salt to go deeper into the grass. Later, the area became wet and made it even harder to clean.
He's been watching for food rejection and paralysis — signs of food poisoning — but so far, the chickens seem OK. He said he also has been considering adding cameras to monitor the chickens.
Resk has called police, but he declined to make a formal report, said Kathy Lowe, a Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman.
Lowe said a detective talked to Resk on Monday "regarding an ongoing neighbor dispute."
One neighbor who has spoken out against the chickens said she heard about the incident on the Facebook page, but said, "I would never hurt the chickens or any animals."
Resk said the culprit might not have known the dangers of the rock salt.
"I don't feel it was intentional to harm the chickens," Resk said. "But I'm saddened by it, and I think it's disturbing."
The incident was first reported on the Facebook page created for the hens, which made headlines late last year when a neighbor made a noise complaint and an animal control officer told Resk that chickens are not allowed in Corona del Mar.
Resk then contacted members of the City Council, who agreed earlier this month to have city staff investigate whether the municipal code should be changed to allow chickens.