From the Philadelphia Inquirer – May 20, 1999
by Blair Clarkson
UPPER MERION – Yes, fiberglass animals have rights, too.
At least, one anonymous local businessman thinks so.
He has come to the defense of the most persecuted bird in town – the big, bright rooster in front of Nor-view Farms.
The benefactor has offered $1,000 – not chicken feed – to anyone with information that leads to the arrest of whoever broke off the bird’s legs in April.
According to police, busting up the bird has been a longtime tradition.
The rooster has not been repaired since the last mauling and has been damaged at least six times in the last 20 years.
The first came two months after it was erected in 1971.
In 1997, police said, three adults were arrested when they tried to tow the rooster away using a chain and a tow truck.
“I mean, it’s not like he’s not bothering anyone,” said Upper Merion Detective Jeff McCabe.
“But for some reason, this keeps happening. A bunch of kids on a dare can do some stupid things,” McCabe said.
The rooster, which apparently does not have an official name, is a neighborhood landmark. Norview Farms – an eclectic combination of petting zoo, bottled-water facility, greenhouse, ice cream stand and open space – recently was purchased by the township.
Joseph Battista, one of the three brothers who long owned and now run the various operations, said the rooster is expensive to fix.
It’s fiberglass, so we had to get an estimate from a place that fixes Corvettes in Norristown,” he said. “They said $2,500. The township wants to put a camera on it that will be connected to the police department to catch anyone who tries it again.”
Battista said the rooster was left in its crippled state to shame the culprits into coming forward. He put a sign next to the bird that says “A ‘Proud’ Product of Vandals, Midnight Heroes.”
Battista said he was not sure why the rooster is such a target.
“But the first time it happened, back in 1971, I asked them why they did it.” he said. “They were Upper Merion High School students. One said, ‘For kicks,’ Another of them is now a police officer. Maybe he’ll work harder to solve the case this time.”