First reported 7/25/2011 1:02 p.m.

Brookfield officials pulled a discussion about allowing backyard hens from the village board’s meeting agenda Monday as police continue to investigate just how three chickens, belonging to a local resident, died over the weekend.

Alana Waters-Piper, whose backyard brood of three hens was profiled in the Landmark last week, reported to police on July 24 that she found the hens dead in their coop around 5 p.m.

According to the report, Waters-Piper believes the chickens may have been poisoned.

“I just cannot fathom that anyone would be so hateful. It boggles the mind,” said Waters-Piper in an email to the Landmark Sunday night. “I’m really shocked. I thought the whole backyard hens thing would be a fun thing for the community to share.”

Waters-Piper doesn’t believe the weather had anything to do with the hens’ deaths. They survived the winter outside and the hot temperatures from the previous two weeks.

“They were fine, healthy,” she said in an interview on Monday afternoon. “That’s the stumbling block for me, that all three died at once.”

Last week the Landmark ran an article on Waters-Piper’s hens and a discussion of the village’s ordinance governing livestock and fowl, slated for the July 25 village board meeting.

The village has admitted getting some complains about the fact that Waters-Piper was keeping hens and village inspectors had issued her two tickets in past months though the complaints were never pursued.

On the day the story was published, July 20, Waters-Piper found the overhead door to her garage open and evidence that someone had entered her backyard through the rear gate. Nothing from the garage was taken. She said she did not believe a family member left the garage door open because it hadn’t been opened by anyone that day.

Two days after the story was published, someone passed out fliers in the 3400 block of Prairie Avenue, where Waters-Piper lives. The flier included a photocopy of the newspaper story and a handwritten note giving Waters-Piper’s address, stating, “Our neighbor … has chickens in her yard. Do you have a strong opinion about this? If so, come to the village board meeting on Monday night.”

That discussion has now been postponed.

“Due to the alleged criminal activity resulting in the deaths of chickens in Brookfield, the board will not be discussing this tonight in any manner,” stated Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral in an email sent Monday. “The board of trustees will only entertain discussion of this issue following the pending criminal investigation.”

It is unclear whether the note distributed Friday and the deaths of the hens are related. Further information about the chickens’ causes of death was not immediately available and may never be known.

“I don’t have the money to pay for toxicology reports on the chickens,” said Waters-Piper.

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