Local Government

City Government Prohibits Autistic Boy's Therapeutic Pet Chickens

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Credit: Screencap "Today"

The Hart family found a way to help their autistic toddler through animal therapy, specifically with pet chickens. Now, their local city council in DeBary, Florida – fully aware of the boy's condition and treatment – is telling the family that they have to get rid of their pets.

The Harts discovered the transformative effect chickens had on their son, J.J., last year. The boy previously experienced long bouts of silence and fits of anger. J.J.'s mother, Ashleigh, told the Orlando Sentinel about the positive effects the birds have had on her son, "he's now going to a new preschool, and he's able to communicate much better. And it all has to do with the chickens. He plays with them. He cuddles with them. And he runs around the yard with them. … It's made a tremendous difference." 

The city initially cited them for a code violation, but the Harts petitioned to be allowed to keep their pets and DeBary city council began a pilot program. The city allowed chickens, though required a permit. Reports indicate that the Harts and one other household, which was raising the chickens for eggs, participated in program.

Yet, the council voted last week 3-2 to yank away residents' privilege to care for these animals. Mayor Bob Garcia was among the dissenting voices. He expressed to Fox News his view that "if we make laws that take away rights of individuals, especially children, those laws should be abolished. We should be protecting the rights of individuals, not suppressing them."

Council member Nick Koval saw the situation differently. "I sympathize," he assured, "but, we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the citizens and taxpayers of this community. And I believe that they [chickens] belong in agricultural areas."

While some government officials insist that the flightless birds harm the community, how much harm could the ban do to this child?

"It could be devastating to him," Dr. Emily Forrest, who specializes in autism, explained that "children with autism are extremely sensitive to changes in their lives." Forrest added, "it's really sad for him that he has to stop because of a city ordinance." 

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    1. There has been some speculation that Nick Koval fucks chickens on a regular basis.

      1. There is also speculation that the fucker needs two dozen junk punches to call his own.

      2. I’m not saying that I’ve heard that Koval’s opinion here is due to his inability to curb his own urges to fuck that little boy’s chickens. I’m also not saying that I haven’t heard it.

      1. That is some fucked up shit.

      2. That is some fucked up shit.

        1. I blame HM for introducing me to that.

          1. That’s from Vice, right? Or is the donkey fucking in Colombia a completely separate investigative piece?

            1. I believe the Colombian donkey fucking documentary is completely separate.

      3. Jesus, jesse, how did you know where to find that?

        My brother used to have a neighbor who was a chicken farmer. The guy was missing an arm, but not a sense of humor.

        Once I asked him ” Do you mind if I ask what happened to your arm?”

        Without hesitation he replied in a deadpan, slow southern drawl…” Jealous Rooster”.

    2. There is absolutely no chance I’m blindly clicking that link…

  1. Mayor Bob Garcia was among the dissenting voices. He expressed to Fox News his view that “if we make laws that take away rights of individuals, especially children, those laws should be abolished. We should be protecting the rights of individuals, not suppressing them.”

    Nice.

    1. Yeah, I liked that too. I hope he can just prevent police and inspectors from enforcing the code.

  2. Council member Nick Koval saw the situation differently. “I sympathize,” he assured, “but, we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the citizens and taxpayers of this community. And I believe that they [chickens] belong in agricultural areas.”

    So it all boils down to what a city council member believes.

    1. we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances

      The amount of time and money proves how necessary it is!

      1. Circular reasoning is round!

        1. I think this is more apt: http://uphillwriting.org/wp-co…..ecause.jpg

    2. If they go back on this then the hoi polloi might start believing that not all of the council’s pronouncements are in the people’s best interest and, worse yet, they might start to think that they can make their own decisions about how to live. We just can’t have that!

      1. they go back on this then the hoi polloi

        In before the wrath of pedantry descends on you.

        And yes, this is a man who recognizes just how inconsequential and petty his authority is. The councilman, not Sevo.

    3. But we just work so hard at producing mindless drivel. We wouldn’t want anyone to undermine that.

  3. “It’s unfortunate, and I sympathize,” Koval told The Sentinel.

    No you don’t, you vile scumbag. Fuck you. Die.

    1. + many.

      Now, if you want to accuse another of being on the side of the Taliban, councilman Koval is a better candidate than me.

      1. Fuck off, dipshit.

  4. “Therapeutic”?

    Yeah, right.

    1. It is a fact that chicken soup is therapeutic.

    2. If it is indeed effective in controlling the kid’s behavior and improving social interaction, therapeutic seems like an appropriate word to use.

    3. I’ve found choking chickens–well, one specific one–to be occasionally therapeutic.

      1. sure, but do you have a permit for that?

  5. Council member Nick Koval saw the situation differently. “I sympathize,” he assured, “but, we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the citizens and taxpayers of this community. And I believe that they [chickens] belong in agricultural areas.”

    Sorry kid, it’s for your own good. Plus, they work hard to put those laws into place! Do you want those council members to feel like useless assholes?

    1. Assholes actually have a use. City council members, however…

    2. That’s why government is a one-way ratchet. Because writing rules is hard work. Repealing rules is like saying all that hard work was for nothing, and it insults the good intentions of the rule writers. Can’t have that. So the rules must stay. No matter who they harm. Because to do otherwise might offend someone in government.

      1. Not repealing bad laws is admitting that one does not understand the concept of sunk costs.

        1. Are you suggesting that local politicians might have a less than perfect understanding of economic concepts? Unpossible!

        2. Not repealing bad laws is admitting that one would rather cause actual real harm to the public than a perceived slight to a fellow public servant.

          1. You know the score, pal. If you’re not a public servant, you’re little people.

      2. If the choice is between being offended and a slow hanging…screw it, they deserve to hang.

  6. Those thieving chickens are stealing food out of the mouths of honest, hard-working doctors, therapists, and pharmaceutical company executives and their families. They aren’t even licensed.

    1. *lightbulb over head*

      Heeeeey…

      …licensed chickens.

      /city council member

  7. Come on people! It’s a slippery slope out there! Allow these people to have chickens, and before long the Muslims will want goats! Then Warty will want a sheep! And John will want a cow! A line must be drawn!

    1. Warty already has plenty of sheep.

      1. John still wants a cow.

        Seriously though, how does someone afford to eat like that?

        1. After seeing that, I’m skipping lunch today. Hey, you just saved me $6!

        2. Don’t you just shudder at the thought of John or any guy tapping that udder?

          1. Don’t you just shudder at the thought of John or any guy tapping that udder?

            Can’t shudder at the thought you don’t have.

            1. Indeed.

  8. I’m kind of surprised DeBary is doing this. It’s not exactly a very metropolitan area.

    1. My guess is that the ordinance is motivated in part by the desire to keep out fresh-off-the-boat Hispanics. Who, based on personal experience, will bring roosters, chickens, a plot of corn, etc, to their suburban property. I didn’t mind it, but I can see others being annoyed when the rooster goes off at 5:30 AM every day. Paging Dr. Coase. The six corn plants were hilarious to see in the neighborhood: lawn, dirt patch, gentrified lawn with hedges, lawn, corn. Still don’t know how the south Bay Area city didn’t crack down on them for doing it.

      Otherwise, I think it’s as sarcasmic lays out with his ‘one-way ratchet’ idea. They went to all of the trouble to make the rule; how dare you think you can go against all of the hard work they put in?

      1. The only possible public nuisance is the damn roosters.

        So ban roosters, if you must ban something.

        And Mr. “Oh, I’m all sympathetic, but ve must be followink ze orders” can die in a fire.

        1. That is actually how most chicken ordinances are written. No roosters. Real simple. We can have 4 hens in my suburb. I like the eggs and the pest control but damn, I grew up with chickens and they are just plain stupid birds. Almost too much trouble. Plus, here in CO, I choose not to provide a buffet for fat coyotes.

        2. No, he can be tied to a post, covered in pitch, then lit on fire.

          1. Well, y’know, Mandela did just pass away. Perhaps it would be fitting tribute to the man by fitting Kocal with a necklace?

        3. I live in Houston. I’m not a fan of ‘quality-of-life’ ordinances such as those. Just trying to lay out what I think was the city council’s motivation for their rule. I was several houses down from the chicken house I mentioned above, but I didn’t smell anything or notice anything bad. I’ve no idea how the smell compares to the yard of dog shit mentioned elsewhere in the thread.

          You read about petty tyrannical shit like this, and it’s frankly a miracle that more people don’t act like that guy who shot up the city council meeting in Kirkwood, Mo. But then cops who shoot dogs seem to get by O.K. too. I guess human beings are a lot more forgiving than I though.

          1. I thought. Not I though.

          2. Just trying to lay out what I think was the city council’s motivation for their rule.

            A shocking number of bills at the state level are passed based on a single person’s complaint to a legislator. I expect this is the same.

      2. A friend of mine planted corn in his front yard in Worcester, MA and the city didn’t freak out. They did make him mow his lawn once, though.

  9. we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances for the protection persecution of the citizens and taxpayers of this community.

  10. I’m sure the eloquence of the Hit ‘n Run commentariat could persuade the DeBary City Council of the folly of regulatory overreach.

    Remember to be polite, concise, firm, and POLITE.

    Council Member Nick Koval
    nkoval@debary.org
    (386)753-0880

    1. I can remember to be polite, but I’m not sure I’m capable.

      1. I resemble that remark.

    2. “Go climb in a septic tank and drown, you monkey-blowing simpleton” is polite, right?

    3. “Go climb in a septic tank and drown, you monkey-blowing simpleton” is polite, right?

      1. FUCK YOU 3PM SITE SHITOUT

      2. Emily Post seal of approval polite.

        1. I can stencil “Emily” on the post before I tie Nick Koval to it…

      3. Tut, tut, Warty. It should be “I really like that tie on you. Now, is there anything I can do to help you climb in a septic tank, etc.”

    4. Remember to be polite, concise, firm, and POLITE.

      Post it to /b/. I’m sure they’ll be polite.

      1. /b is the definition of a nuke to swat a fly. You take the minimal good with the colossal bad.

    5. I’ve been trying to think of a polite way to say “Go die in a fire,” but I can’t come up with one. These people aren’t up for persuasion. They have no morals, only a thirst for power.

      1. Finding out where he lives, then surrounding it with nooses in every lamp post and tree would be a good start.

        1. That could work. I did actually e-mail him though, in all seriousness. I realize that that’s like trying to reason with a bandit or a mugger. They don’t really care.

          1. I can reason…jerk.

    6. Go die in a fryer.

  11. Council member Nick Koval saw the situation differently. “I sympathize,” he assured, “but, we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the citizens and taxpayers of this community. And I believe that they [chickens] belong in agricultural areas.”

    How the hell can assholes like this even live with themselves? Oh right, because they are assholes. Nick Koval, you are an authoritarian piece of shit.

    1. What’s the point of having power if you’re not going to use it?

      1. Wire a car battery to his balls and show him what power is.

  12. I’ve never understood the problem with chickens.

    Roosters crow in the morning. Yeah, well, my neighbor of two years was a deputy sheriff who rode a Harley to work every morning at 5:00 AM. It was parked three feet from my bedroom window. Nobody banned Fat Boys for disturbing my “quiet enjoyment”.

    Chicken crap smells. Fine. I’ll put six chickens on a 1/4 acre lot next to three medium-sized dogs in the same size yard. Tell me which smells worse on a nice, warm July evening.

    1. http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellapoultry/

      Apparently, they can carry some diseases.

      1. But hell, even the CDC isn’t against having backyard poultry. They just want you to be aware of the disease risk and to always wash your hands.

      2. There’s conflicting evidence on that.

        1. awesome, and better researched than CAGW papers out there. I hope it gets published, perhaps in Science or Nature…maybe even Cell.

    2. Not directed at you just a general note:

      If you’re really convinced you need to address this through the law, then ban roosters but not chicken in general, and cite them for the smell of the chicken crap if neighbors complain.

      1. Chicken crap is great fertilizer. Someone should tell the Harts they should give little J.J. a nice vegetable garden to play in…Oh, wait.

  13. Wait, is Tulpa’s name Nick Koval? Allow this kid to have chickens, and next thing you know, he’ll want to park food trucks outside his house. Anarchy! Somalia!

  14. You Know Who Else didn’t like Cock?

  15. Don’t take this as defending Nick Koval, but the only way Nick knows about J.J.’s chickens is because one of J.J.’s neighbors is complaining to the city council about them.

    1. Sure, sure. Neighbors are scum, but that doesn’t mean the city council has to be scum as well.

      1. 3 scum on the council. The mayor is awesome.

        It would be great if the mother ran against one of the three a-holes on the council and won.

        1. Sadly, most decent people have much better things to do than wade into the filth of local politics.

          1. I wouldn’t want anyone who wanted to be a city council member as my city council member.

    2. Did the neighbors sign a contract with the Harts about what they can have on their yard…I mean, other than the implied social contract that Nick Koval believes in?

    3. A great example of how ‘the public’ to the average public servant means ‘everyone but you’.

      In this case ‘the public’ that Nick is serving is ‘everyone but J.J.’

    4. I was going to ask about that. I hate it when things like this happen and nobody even complained.

  16. “children with autism are extremely sensitive to changes in their lives.”

    You know who else is sensitive to changes in their lives?

    The typical asshole that runs for government office.

    1. Tell me about. Start changing these carefully planned out city ordinances, and Nick Koval starts being a little fussy and withdrawn.

  17. The parents should tell the council to fuck off and keep the chickens, on the basis that the law is unconstitutional, violating the unenumerated Ninth Amendment rights to keep pets and to treat medical conditions.

    1. Sounds like a right to privacy issue to me.

  18. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the civilized world,

    At a prostate cancer survivors breakfast last week, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, marveled at the quality of single-payer health care systems abroad and suggested the U.S. follow suit.

    Amid frustration with the rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, some members of Congress who agree with Powell are pushing for consideration of such a system.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced the American Health Security Act of 2013 on Monday, which would require states to create their own single-payer insurance systems. A House version was introduced in March by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.

    In single-payer systems, the government pays for most non-elective medical care. Supporters say adopting that tax-financed model would improve care and dramatically reduce costs by eliminating overhead and insurance company profits. Opponents fear rationing and reduced personal choice.

    adopting that tax-financed model would improve care and dramatically reduce costs by eliminating overhead and insurance company profits.

    Yeah, that’s what will happen, all righty.

    Also, why should I give a shit what Powell thinks?

    1. He’s a Republican! Only racist teabagger nihilist neo-Confederates who hijacked the party and are at war with women and logic are against single-payer!

    2. Colon Powell…Prostate cancer…close, reaaaalll close.

    3. That’s totally true. After all, the only inefficiency in the system is the profit margin. Why, if it weren’t for that, heart surgery would only cost $99.95.

        1. If it isn’t my old friend Mr. McGregg. With a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg!

          1. Holy smokes! You need booze!

    4. Supporters say adopting that tax-financed model would improve care and dramatically reduce costs by eliminating overhead and insurance company profits.

      A good year for an insurance company is 5% margin.

      Most of the “overhead” in health care billing is anti-fraud and/or cost control work. So eliminating “overhead” means eliminating controls on costs and fraud, which will somehow result in lower costs.

      Plus, Powell probably genuinely believes what he has been spoon-fed about the “quality” of state-run health care. Which makes him an idiot.

      1. Colin Powell’s credibility ran out shortly after he spoke to the UN.

      2. Query for Colin:

        Does he use the VA for all his healthcare? Because that’s our “pocket” socialized medicine system here in the US.

        And no, Walter Reed doesn’t count.

        1. Walter Reed’s closed man. It’s all Bethesda now.

    5. You would think that 30 years of experience with the military’s single payer (aka monopoly) medical care would have cured Powell of that delusion.

      One little tidbit: the Nimitz pulled into the adjacent pier to my carrier. That night a new sailor reported aboard her. The next day he goes to sick call complaining of abdominal pains. They put him on the binnacle list and sent him back to bed with some pain killers. The next morning he was dead of a ruptured appendix.

      Another tidbit: I was in Alaska visiting my future ex-inlaws. I developed an inflammation of the muscles around my ribs and started having trouble breathing. I ended up in the ER of the Elmendorf Air Force Base hospital. After diagnosing it as a muscle inflammation, they gave me Indometacin. Three days later I was in the ER at Bremerton Navy base, because the mucuous lining of my stomach was gone and I was vomiting up blood. The Navy ER doc kept asking me weird questions because he was trying to figure out why the AF docs had decided to use the pharmaceutical equivalent of a 20 megaton bomb on a machine gun nest. My ex told me later that she had overheard one of the docs at the AFB telling someone that they should give someone Indocin because they were trying to get rid of their stocks.

      I’m sure everyone in the military can tell similar horror stories.

      1. You would think that 30 years of experience with the military’s single payer (aka monopoly) medical care would have cured Powell of that delusion.

        He probably assumed the care he was getting as a General was what everyone else was getting.

        “Damn, the military healthcare system has really improved in the last 10 years.”

        /4 star

        1. That’s what was so nice about being able to go to the Pentagon health clinic. Best folks in the military outside of Bethesda or the hospital ships.

      2. Me? Sure I’ll tell you my story since you asked.

        Despite years of ‘you’re too big, I want to check your cholesterol level’ bloodtests it takes my failing my very last PRT (before retiring – I just blew it off) to diagnose my hypothyroidism. 10 years of physicals, HIV test, and cholesterol level monitoring (of which my levels were firmly in the normal category despite my weight) and no-one thought to test my thyroid levels until I failed.

        And the kicker is that they only tested then because its now part of the procedure to track this before they try to kick you out.

        Had to cancel my terminal leave and drive into San Diego (from Yuma) because they wouldn’t hook me up with a specialist here. Shitty customer service from Balboa.

      3. Yep – had an inguinal hernia surgery done that never really was properly corrected. It bothers me to this day, but it’s been so effed up that there’s nothing that can be done.

      4. My first horror happened in boot camp. I started running a fever, coughing up orange colored mucus, and my chest hurt so bad I could barely function, so I marched down to sick call. They determined that I had a cold and sent me on my merry way with a bottle of terpin elixir with codeine. It didn’t do any thing for the symptoms, but the codeine made me not care. It was when I left boot camp and saw a different doc at NTC for a refill that they realized I had been suffering from bacterial pneumonia for 2 weeks.

    6. Yeah, look at how good the mil-med system is in the US, or the NHS.

      ‘Cause god knows we won’t look to the nations that have a decent single-payer system for inspiration. Fuck that. Can’t be looking to France for examples of how to do it right because they don’t allow enough government control and micro-management in their single-payer system.

  19. What if they just keep it in the basement? (I still think he should be able to keep it outside)

    1. Because this is Florida, and nobody has a basement?

      1. Yeah, in Florida everything is built on sand and the ocean is only about six inches below ground level.

  20. As long as he’s not taking his “Service Chickens” on a plane, and leaving them in the backyard, I’m good… I’m good.

  21. get the kid some drums.

  22. Pluck you, that’s why!

  23. The town should ban migratory birds as well, since those also carry diseases.

    1. “Are you suggesting that diseases are migratory?”
      “Not at all! They could be carried!”

      1. +1 African or European?

    2. They didn’t ban chickens because of diseases.

      They banned them because rules must be written, and in the process of writing rules someone thought chickens should only be allowed in agricultural areas. So they banned them in residential areas. Now anyone who wants to get rid of that rule insults the good intentions of the person who wrote it, insults the hard work that goes into rule making in general, and may set precedent for insulting even more of these rules and the good intentions of those who put so much hard work into making them.

      1. Lawmakers have no good intentions. Ever.

  24. I can tell y’all what this is about. The council members are getting calls from whiney ass voters about the chickens crowing in the morning and waking them up.

    I grew up on a farm and the sound of chickens at the crack of dawn calms my soul. I have been to urban areas ( ex. Key West ) that have chickens and the people who grew up there are fine with it, but the ones who move there, not so much.

    Fuck them.

    1. If the complaints are about noise, I would be sympathetic. Just as you shouldn’t be able to go onto someone else’s property, you shouldn’t be able to pump it full of noise either. But that doesn’t mean you ban chickens. You issue citations for any noise (not just roosters) above whatever the applicable decibel level is.

      1. I wouldn’t – a couple of roosters crowing is hardly anything at all. May as well complain that the birds are singing in the trees.

        Its certainly not anything next to your neighbor running his muffler-less bike at 0600 for 15 minutes to warm it up.

    2. What’s this morning stuff? The rooster on the farm about a half mile from us is either blind or mental; he crows any damn time he feels like it…the middle of the night being a particular favorite though.

  25. we spend a lot of time and money establishing codes and ordinances for the protection of the citizens and taxpayers of this community.

    Except for this family and their little boy. The are obviously NOT citizens or taxpayers.

  26. FUCK. THESE. PIECES. OF. SHIT.

  27. Oh com’n guys, that’s like the City Government prohibiting me from my 22yo smoking latina girl on my lap for therapy.

    Trust me, I feel much much better afterwards and I’m far more productive.

    1. This is (as usual) incoherent.

      Nobody is banning you from having someone on your lap,just the smoking part – no smoking in public! But you should be fine with that, after all smoking bans are for the greater good, right?

      1. You are such a square.

        “Smoking” in the sentence above has nothing to do with smoking, per se.

  28. Anyone want to add some projects to this guy’s government spending wish list?

    We need to completely revamp the electric grid, including building more pumped storage, build a nationwide HSR network running along all three coasts and from NYC to the midwest (and probably all the way across the country), fix up all sorts of water related infrastructure, build dozens of subway and rail lines (starting with the Strip in Vegas, please), fill a bazillion pot holes, and on and on an on.

    Give me a day, and I’ll come up with $5 trillion in projects without even breaking a sweat, and that wouldn’t even count the millions of small local projects in places I have never lived or worked.

    Btw, I do love the conservative objection that infrastructure is too slow: here we are five years into this mess – a time period where we could have designed, permitted, and built a bridge to China – and these folks keep saying it isn’t fast enough. They were wrong then and wrong now.

    1. We need to completely revamp the electric grid, including building more pumped storage, build a nationwide HSR network running along all three coasts and from NYC to the midwest (and probably all the way across the country), fix up all sorts of water related infrastructure, build dozens of subway and rail lines (starting with the Strip in Vegas, please), fill a bazillion pot holes, and on and on an on.

      Funny, (except for HSR) *all* those projects would be done (or getting done) if it weren’t for government getting in the way.

      Half the shit he’s talking about are government owned or controlled monopolies.

    2. Give people competent in the related fields a day, and I’m sure they’ll find a way to do the same work for $500 billion.

  29. Here’s what I don’t get – we got places banning doorknobs due to ‘accessibility issues’, ADA is used to sue the pants off any business where the grab bar in the toilet is a 1/4 in too close to the wall, yet here – where there’s a negligible negative externality to a demonstrable good – the local council enacts regulation that hurts the disabled.

    1. Oh you don’t get it? FYTW. That should explain it for you.

  30. Whole thing sounds chick shit you axe me.

  31. What do the city council morons know about chickens?

    Clearly, nothing.

    Raising chickens (and we’re talking small numbers here – not bazillions of them) doesn’t do anything to hurt anyone. In general, chickens (hens) make little noise, aren’t dangerous, eat bugs, scratch in the dirt/grass and lay eggs. That’s about it. They LOVE to eat cockroaches, which as anyone who lives in Florida can attest is a good thing.

    But maybe that’s the problem. With three cockroaches on the city council, it may be fear that’s driving the vote.

  32. And it’s not like Debary, Florida is a city. Seriously. It’s one step up from a wide spot in the road. A big cow pasture with some asphalt trails. Population of Debary? 19,300.

    Oviedo (to the south) has a population of over 35,000? and they have chickens running loose in the downtown area. (You can get bumper stickers that say, “I brake for Oviedo, Chickens”.)

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