Family fights for chickens that help austistic son
DEBARY, Florida (NBC) --The parents of an autistic toddler are fighting city hall to keep their chickens, animals they said help their son in more ways than one.
Walk through the back yard and you might hear the occasional cluck, but often it's mixed in with the sound of laughter.
Laughter is a sound the Hart family longed to hear ever since 2 year-old JJ was diagnosed with autism.
JJ calls them ducks.
It's the wrong animal, but for a child who rarely talks, it's a big breakthrough.
"We're seeing a therapist a day and this is the one thing that i could do for him. That i could do at home,” said Joe hart, JJ’s father.
JJ also requires a strict diet. One food he can eat is egg. These chickens produce about 4 of them each day.
So for the Hart family, building the chicken pen was a win-win.
Their neighbors agree.
"They’re not annoying whatsoever. I think my dog is more annoying to the neighbors than anything else,” said neighbor Debby Carrandini.
But not the city of Debary, who in August, produced a letter that said, “keeping of livestock is not permitted in residential zoning.”
The letter also went on to call them a "public nuisance."
The Harts could wind up facing a fine of $250 a day.
They said they'll fight it.
"He's going to wonder where his ducks are, even though they are chickens. He's going to wonder where his little ducks are,” said Joe Hart.