RIDGECREST, Calif. - Linc and Helena Moore may have finally learned the answer to that age-old question: Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the chicken doesn't know jaywalking is illegal.
Kern County Sheriff's Deputy J. Nicholson does know, however. The deputy issued a ticket on March 26 to one of the couple's chickens for impeding traffic on a road in Johannesburg, a rural mining community southeast of Ridgecrest.
The Moores arrived in Superior Court on Friday to plead not guilty to their chicken's alleged transgression. A trial was scheduled for May 16.
Nicholson has declined to discuss the matter, but sheriff's Sgt. Francis Moore said chickens on the roadway have been a problem in the community of 50 residents. Officials didn't believe it could be resolved by simply issuing the couple a warning.
"Sometimes you have to let people talk to the judge," Moore said.
The chicken's owners say they believe they were cited because they were among several people who complained that sheriff's deputies haven't done enough to control off-road vehicle riders who damage roads and create dust and noise in their neighborhood.
Sheriff's officials say that isn't so, adding they are doing what they can to keep off-roaders away from the area's homes.
"The chicken thing has nothing to do with the motorcycle thing," Moore said.