Additional Titles







Speckles the
Chicken Dead,
Deputy Scruggs

Man Arrested For Saving a Stray Chicken

Sheriff Daniel Jails Man For Aiding Chicken

Cops Pounce on Man For 'Stealing' Chicken



Montana Judge
Rules Against
Oregon's SCF







By Dennis Roler
May 6, 2004

Grants Pass, Oregon - The saga of Speckles the chicken flew from the absurd to the perverse over the weekend, as the market mascot was found with its neck wrung.

Speckles apparently died because it was at the center of an outrageous tug of war among humans that drew national attention in March. One can only imagine what those in California, the Midwest and elsewhere will think of Josephine County residents when the demise of Speckles is publicized as a follow-up story.

This county will look like a place where the Hatfields and the McCoys would feel at home, settling arguments with violence.

Who killed Speckles and why may never be known. The Sheriff's Office will investigate the incident - but, hopefully, it won't assign five officers to the case, as it did the night of March 23, when five deputies showed up at the Williams home of Nicholas Gombos, 51, to reclaim the chicken.

Gombos said he saw the hen at Ray's Food Place in Murphy on March 18 and took it home, thinking it had been abandoned and it was in danger from traffic and other things. In reality, Speckles was the market's mascot.

It was what happened after Gombos corralled Speckles that made the incident so absurd it drew national attention. Gombos steadfastly refused to surrender the hen, and deputies woke a judge around midnight to obtain a search warrant. The five deputies then launched their raid, nabbed the chicken and eventually hauled off an uncooperative Gombos in his underwear or birthday suit, depending on who you listed to.

It was a senseless clash of wills and an obvious overreaction by a Sheriff's Office that constantly complains about not having enough manpower.

As a result, Speckles became much more than a chicken. It became a symbol for all the support ills of the Sheriff's Office: "Can't send anyone to check into my burglary, but you can send five deputies to grab a chicken!"

Was Speckles' killer a cruel vandal who just wanted to brag to friends about destroying the most famous chicken in Oregon? Was it someone simply fed up with hearing so much about the hen? Or was it even one of the principles in the story not content to let things rest as they were?

Whoever the killer was, he transformed a bizarre but harmless story into something ugly by ending it with senseless violence. Speckles never hurt anyone.

Courtesy of the Grants Pass Daily Courier

� 2004 Daily Courier - All Rights Reserved

Editors Note: Nick Gombos' trial is set to begin soon. The cost to the Josephine County taxpayers could run into the thousands.
DA Clay Johnson (541) 474-5200
Sheriff Dave Daniel (541) 474-5123

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Dennis Roler is the editor for the Grants Pass Daily Courier, a daily publication for Josephine County, Oregon. E-Mail








"It was a senseless clash of wills and an obvious overreaction by a Sheriff's Office that constantly complains about not having enough manpower."