Roswell Chicken Man – It’s Not Supposed To End Like This

Roswell’s “Chicken Man”, Andrew Wordes, has been battling the City of Roswell for quite a while over the number of chickens, or “livestock” as the city calls them, on his property.  I’m not going to claim full knowledge of this battle, though we have a  frequent commenter who can most likely fill us in, as he has been having similar issues in Cobb County.

Wordes had taken his battle to the point of being arrested, and fell behind on mortgage payments while in jail apparently.  Today, we have this:

Marshals had gone to Wordes’ home Monday to evict the 53-year-old man, who had fallen behind on his mortgage payments while in jail for failing to comply with an order to limit the number of animals on his property. Around 12:45 p.m., Wordes called the cell phone of Channel 2 Action News reporter Mike Petchenik, who was outside the home, and told him to tell marshals to get off his property. He told Petchenik, “I can’t tell you” what’s going to happen, “but it ain’t going to be pretty.”

Moments later an explosion rocked the house. Roswell fire officials reported a body was found inside, Petchenik reported.

I’ll probably have more to say on this later.  At the moment, I just find it terribly disturbing.


  1. CobbGOPer says:

    Good job, City of Roswell! A man is dead because of your inane and inflexible policies. I’m not one for frivolous lawsuits, but if I was his family I’d find a lawyer willing to take on the case and sue the city. Roswell will likely win in the end, but at least make them spend some legal fees, since there will be no other consequences to their actions. Because you know they sure as hell won’t be voted out.

    • Bridget says:

      It’s a very sad outcome, but I’m curious…. exactly what would the lawsuit be based upon?

      Again, I don’t know the details, and this is the first I’m hearing of “Chicken Man”, but I see 1) he wasn’t happy with a law, 2) he then knowingly broke it, 3) he was arrested, 4) he was to be evicted for non-payment, 5) he pre-meditatively (sp?) blew up a building and endangered officers and media.

      It reads as a suicide bombing (or a murder once they confirm the identity of the body)….at which point was he on the right side of the law?

      • CobbGOPer says:

        I never said it would be a valid lawsuit. I just said the least someone could do is make the city spend unnecessary amounts of money defending against one. Since I do see the city’s actions as a major factor in why this man took his own life (and easily could have taken several Roswell cops out with him).

      • jm says:

        I’m fuzzy on the details but I believe that I read that AFTER he already had his coop set up for years, an ordinance was passed in Roswell restricting chickens to properties over one acre. Wordes’ property was 0.93 acres.

  2. Cassandra says:

    Sad to know that a seemingly innocuous issue can have such a deadly outcome. There are other stories, current and relevant to a Senate vote, that involve deep passions and volatile individuals.

    One never knows what is going on in the mind of another; human frailty, weaknesses, and passion often lead to anger, irrationality, and poor outcomes.

    What happened to the House Bill the would usurp any local government’s ability to limit agricultural uses?

    • CobbGOPer says:

      It had a deadly outcome because instead of working with Mr. Wordes – who had not committed a violent crime and was hitherto non-violent – they sent him to jail, thus affecting his income and his ability to pay his mortgage, which in turn caused a foreclosure action, which in turn led to… well, we know what it led to.

      This needs to be a lightning rod to the Tea Party and people fed up with our governments here in Georgia. And while it’s awful that Mr. Wordes felt so trapped that he had to kill himself, I can’t say I disagree with his final sentiment in destroying his home: at least the government won’t get it…

  3. saltycracker says:

    If someone would blow up their home with them in it over an ordinance what can we expect from those overassessed on property taxes ?

    Have the Tea Party over and drink the coolade ?

    That said, while there has to be some boundaries on property taxes and farm animals, local administrations are over reaching.

  4. Max Power says:

    Some time ago the idea of zoning and restrictive covenants stopped being about controlling negative externalities and became about controlling people’s lives. I feel for this mans family.

    • saltycracker says:

      “negative externalities”
      It started with a neighbor’s complaint. Likeable or not, did the guy create a nuisance (lots of chickens & chicken sh*t) or a varmit attracting mess in a residential area ? The neighbor did and the City agreed.

      What evidence is there of overkill on the negative externalities ? Got a count on the chickens & trash ?

      • Max Power says:

        If memory serves me correctly which it may not, the city of Roswell allows you to keep 6 chickens if you have less than an acre and 12 chickens per acre if you have an acre or more with a maximum of 36 or 40. There’s simply no logic behind this rule. At .95 acres you’re only allowed six but a 1.01 acres you can keep 12. If you have a 10 acre lot you can only keep 36.

        If his neighbor had a problem he could have filed a civil suit for nuisance.

        • saltycracker says:

          Got to draw the line somewhere. Could be wrong but recollection of the news had him with less than an acre and a “hundred or more” chickens. That might be heard and smelled by a neighbor.

          Filing a civil suit is a poor approach when a phone call to the city might resolve the issue, avoid a direct confrontation and save both you and the legal system some time & money.

          • Max Power says:

            Filing a civil suit is a poor approach when a phone call might resolve the issue, avoid a direct confrontation and save both you and the legal system some time & money.

            Both of which are better than using the police power of the state to enforce your will on others.

              • Max Power says:

                I spent every summer of my youth in Lyons so I’m not unfamiliar with livestock. Put a pig farm next to me, cause an excessive nuisance and I’ll try to get you to correct it if that doesn’t work I’ll file a civil suit. What I won’t do is go to the city council and say no one can have a few pigs.

                To be clear there are occasions when zoning action is proper. When the nuisance or harm could not be easily corrected, say if you wanted to start a nuclear dump next door.

                • drjay says:

                  some folks you just can’t reason with however–i don’t know anything about this guy other than what i’ve read here–but i somehow don’t envision a “neighborly discussion” about the fact that he might be overdoing it on the chickens, or his being served papers on the subject would go over well–this is a man that literally blew his house (and self, most likely) up vs. allowing it to become the banks…

              • Max Power says:

                Haven’t lived in Georgia long have you? Just know the right people and grease the right palms.

  5. CobbGOPer says:

    “Some time ago the idea of zoning and restrictive covenants stopped being about controlling negative externalities and became about controlling people’s lives.”

    This x1000.

  6. Max Power says:

    Has anyone else heard the rumor that Wordes’s property was slated for redevelopment under the Roswell 2030 plan?

    • saltycracker says:

      I saw where he & the mayor were friends and he tried to get the City to buy the property after it flooded as he blamed the City for it, they declined. This would have been good news for him.

      • saltycracker says:

        For those believing the evil Roswell gov’ment had a conspiracy plan including flooding his land & throwing him in jail to put him in a financial bind, please disregard the above.

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