Oct 9, 2012 1:12 PM by Kirsten Bennett

Family fights to keep chickens for son with autism

Parents of a toddler with autism are fighting city hall in DeBary, FL to keep their chickens. The family says the animals help their son in more ways than one.

The Hart family built a chicken coop in their backyard for their 2-year-old son JJ. JJ calls them his "ducks," but for a child that rarely speaks, it is a major breakthrough.

"We're seeing a therapist a day, and this is the one thing that I could do for him," said his father, Joe Hart.

JJ also requires a strict diet, one food he can eat is eggs. The chickens produce about four each day.

The problem is, the City of DeBary doesn't agree. They wrote a letter to the family, reading in part, "keeping of livestock is not permitted in residential zoning," and called them a "public nuisance."

Because of that, the Hart's could wind up facing a fine of $250 dollars each day. It is a fine the family is willing to fight.

Neighbors have not complained, one even admitting her dog is more annoying than the family's chickens.

"He's going to wonder where his ducks are," Joe said adding that, "Even though they are chickens. He's going to wonder where his little ducks are."



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