OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Where is Carl the Downtown Rooster? That's the question looming over Ocean Springs. Rumors have been flying ever since Carl's sudden disappearance.
He's less than two feet tall, but Carl has managed to make his presence felt. Back in November, his fans helped spring him from chicken jail after being picked up by animal control because of bad behavior. Since then Carl has complied with all the terms of his probation so everyone was surprised when he suddenly flew the coop.
His friends at Leo's Pizzeria call Carl a creature of habit. So when Carl stopped coming by his usual hangout four days ago, the staff got worried.
"He's here pretty much every day," said J.B. Morgan, Leo's Property Manager. "Actually, he roosts on the roof every night. But now we haven't seen him in a couple of days. "
After combing the streets and still no sign of Carl, fear grew that the rooster had met with "fowl play." WLOX questioned Ocean Springs resident Jerome Ross and his dog Dusty, but Dusty wasn't about to get collared for the crime and denied any knowledge of birdnapping.
Next, we tried Carl's buddy, Randy. But he refused to offer any information about Carl's whereabouts. When backed into a corner, Randy vowed to become a jailbird before he'd sing like a canary.
Meanwhile, Carl's friends are glued to his Facebook page waiting for good news of the safe return of the unofficial mascot of downtown Ocean Springs.
Tory Tate is a waitress at Leo's. "There's actually been some businesses that have made T-shirts with the rooster on it. I have to say he's the most photographed bird I've ever seen in my life because people come here on a day to day basis looking for him."
"I miss him because he's my buddy. I pick him up and carry him around to the tables for the kids to play with and pet," said Tate. "He's really truly missed because he's been an attraction to downtown. Everybody comes here they look for the rooster."
Mayor Connie Moran is also concerned about Carl. She said Ocean Springs is a bird sanctuary which protects the roosters from being purposely injured. She said the city has an idea of what happened to Carl, but can't say right now so as not to tip anyone off.