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Patrons of Hollywood barber shop are already used to seeing a large rooster walking around inside or sitting on the chairs.
The rooster is Coco, and Alex Mullokandov, the shop’s owner and Bronx’s own Doctor Doolittle, is responsible for saving him after a long cockfighting career and nursing him back to health.
Mullokandov owns and runs Hollywood Barber Shop at 403 City Island Avenue. He said that a couple weeks ago, around Grand Concourse and East 182nd Street, he saw a notice for a cockfight and happened to stumble upon the illegal event just as city authorities were breaking it up. “It was like God sent me there, because I really do love birds,” he said.
Although the ASPCA and Bronx Animal Control have denied a role in that particular bust, Mullokandov contends that it was indeed a local animal group. The group seized four of the five roosters that were being exploited, but left one behind because it was in such terrible shape that it was beyond saving.
“His eyes were closed, he was all beat up, he had lost the fight,” he said. “He still had the metal clip on his wing, his number. He’s eight months old, and he was shaved on the bottom, that is done so the fighters don’t overheat.”
Mullokandov grew up on a farm in Russia, so he is experienced with chickens, sheep, geese, and ducks. He said he knew right away he had to try and help the rooster, who he eventually named Coco. But the men who had organized the cockfight wanted to keep him for more fights. “I got a little physical with these young guys,” recalled Mullokandov. “They didn’t want to give the bird to me but I just threw two twenties at them and I said I’m taking it.”
For two weeks Coco was only drinking water, not eating, and Mullokandov didn’t think he would make it. He started giving the animal penicilin and a mixture of old milk, salt and onions. He also put cocoa butter on the rooster’s face. After three weeks, Coco began crowing again and started moving around.
Now, restored to health, Coco has become a fixture in the barber shop. “He eats out of my hand, he sits in the chairs when he’s hot, people know him. Like right now, it’s about to rain. When he feels the rain, he comes inside.”
His customers also love the bird — some have brought their children to take pictures, and one local artist even showed up to paint Coco.
However, complaints have begun to pour into elected officials because the animal often runs around out in the street, and motorists are concerned that the sight — an unusual one — could distract people and cause an accident.
Some calls have gone to Senator Jeff Klein’s office, and Klein is now looking to find Coco a proper home. After all, it is illegal to have a rooster as a pet in New York City.
“If I knew roosters were illegal here, I still would have taken him in and helped him,” admitted Mullokandoiv,
Now that Klein’s office is on the job, looking for farms upstate or proper animal facilities, Mullokandov is concerned.
“He’s good, he’s healthy, I worry about him somewhere else,” he said about the rooster’s potential move. “It would have to be a person who would let me call and check on him and ask how he’s doing. I don’t want it to be someone who’s just going to put him in a soup.”
If interested in providing a good home for this animal call (718) 822-2049.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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