With all of the people being evacuated from Key West due to Hurricane Irma, it is easy to forget about the animals, but a photo on Facebook helped put things in perspective. Key West has a number of gypsy chickens that roam the streets of the town, and they are at risk with the winds picking up speed and the water rising. But one Key West man wrapped up the chickens he could catch, placed them in his car, and drove out of town to escape Hurricane Irma.
And chickens aren’t the only creatures wandering the streets of Key West. At the Hemingway House, 55 polydactyl cats live on the property. The same family of cats has been around since Hemingway’s time, and they are also at risk with Hurricane Irma approaching Key West. Jacqui Sands, the manager at the Hemingway House, is being urged to evacuate, but Sands feels obligated to stay with the cats and her employees who couldn’t evacuate Key West.
“If I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t stay. My kids told me to get the hell out. But I have an obligation to take care of the building and the cats.”
Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter Mariel Hemingway wants Sands, the employees, and the cats to get out of Key West while they can, before Hurricane Irma hits.
“I think that you’re a wonderful and admirable person for trying to stay there and save the cats and save the house and all that stuff, but ultimately it’s just a house. Save the cats. Get all the cats in the car and take off.”
But the photo on Facebook of chickens lined up on the back seat of a car went viral, as people were amazed that someone would bind up hens and roosters with newspaper and tape and help them evacuate Key West. The post included a note thanking the person who packed up the chickens.
“CHICKEN EVACUATION. Gotta love the people in Key West! Thank you to Local Selfie Celeb Jayesh Mani for doing what the rest of us only wished for! #onlyinkeywest”
The wild birds, who are called gypsy chickens in Key West, normally roam the streets. Decades ago when cock fighting was outlawed in Key West, many people just set their birds free, which resulted in generations of chickens roaming the island. Amber DeBevec, who owns Key West’s Finest, said that Mani is everyone’s hero for coming to the aid of the gypsy chickens.
“Jayesh Mani is the man on a mission. The chickens have been delivered to another helpful friend in Key West and are safe. Jayesh is lovingly known as the Selfie King of Key West, locals clamored to get a coveted ‘Jelfie’ with our hometown hero.”
DeBevec is asking everyone to keep Key West residents in their prayers as Hurricane Irma approaches.
“Please keep us in your prayers as many of our friends have stayed behind to ride out the storm. We will post updates on our Facebook page as we get them from our local citizens.”
Reportedly, there are over 100 wild chickens or gypsy chickens on the streets of Key West, and though they are feral, most are quite tame. The photo of the Key West chickens in the back seat of the car has now been shared more than 30,000 times as Hurricane Irma approaches. Many people wondered why the chickens were wrapped up in a newspaper, but it is for their own safety. Wrapping a chicken with their wings against their side actually keeps them calm, especially for a long car ride like the one out of Key West to higher ground.
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Were you surprised to see someone helping the Key West chickens evacuate for Hurricane Irma?
[Featured Image by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images]