Family mourns loss of beloved pet

Published 5:48 pm Monday, January 4, 2016

Lieutenant Danielle, center, a one-legged silky chicken who was rescued by the Griffin family, passed away on Jan. 2. (File)

Lieutenant Danielle, center, a one-legged silky chicken who was rescued by the Griffin family, passed away on Jan. 2. (File)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–A unique silky chicken that became an unofficial celebrity within the past year in the Helena and Columbiana communities passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 2.

The one-legged silky chicken, affectionately known as Lieutenant Danielle, resided at the home of Jamie Griffin and his family in Helena for the last two years.

The unique story of Lieutenant Danielle began last February, when Griffin went outside to feed his 15-20 silky chickens.

A predator had attacked one of the chickens in the coop, a scene Griffin said he will never forget.

“The next morning I got up and I thought one of the chickens was dead,” said Griffin. “I could tell something pulled her through the pen. She had a right leg missing and a hole going into her chest. I brought her into the house and kept treating her and she kept living. I had to change her bandages and make sure she was eating, but eventually I brought her to work every day.”

Lieutenant Danielle survived the attack with the help of Griffin, who said he’s always had a love for animals and grew up on a farm.

Griffin is the manager at Mid-State Farmer’s Cooperative in Columbiana and after Lieutenant Danielle made a full recovery, she made daily commutes with Griffin to and from work.

“She’s kind of our mascot at the co-op and she rides in a little basket in the passenger seat of my truck every day to and from work,” Griffin said of the silky chicken in May. “She knows my voice and wants to be near me and around my daughters and wife. She is just a good buddy.”

Griffin said he awoke on Jan. 2 to find the bird unresponsive and was saddened to see that the bird had passed away.

A Facebook page was created for Lieutenant Danielle that gained more than 400 likes in recent months and several people reached out to express their condolences.

“I am so sorry. I have also grown to love and look forward to LT’s pics and posts. Praying for peace and comfort for your family. She was truly loved and one very lucky pet,” read a comment from Misty Harmon.

Griffin said he was happy to see the positive response from the community.

“I kind of feel silly about being attached to a chicken, but the overwhelming response from the community made me realize how special she was,” said Griffin. “In the year’s time, she has touched a lot of folks and it was very overwhelming to see the responses. If you have a dog die you can go out and replace it, but the thing with Lieutenant Danielle is that she’s irreplaceable and that’s the toughest part about it. You can’t just go out and buy another one-legged chicken.”

With the help of a friend, Griffin will have a few of Lieutenant Danielle’s eggs injected with silicone to serve as a lasting memory of the beloved pet.