DeBary ends program allowing backyard chickens

Hart family says exception should be made for 3-year-old J.J.

Published On: Dec 06 2013 07:50:15 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 06 2013 09:57:49 AM EST
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DEBARY, Fla. -

The father of an autistic boy says he'll be contacting his attorney after the DeBary City Council voted to end a pilot program that allows residents to keep chickens in their backyards.

Councilmembers ended the program with a 3-2 vote Wednesday.

Joseph Hart says he will fight to keep the chickens, which he says have helped his 3-year-old son J.J. make tremendous progress. A physician recommended getting the chickens to help with therapy for the boy.

Councilmember Chris Carson says he'd like to keep the program going for the boy. But he voted the end the pilot program, saying he didn't want to create opportunities for people to turn chickens and their eggs into a business.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports the program ends on Dec. 31.

Last year, someone filed an anonymous complaint with the DeBary city officials, saying the chickens violated zoning rules and days later, the chickens were found beheaded in the Hart family's backyard. The Harts believe someone broke into their chicken coop and hurt the birds to intimidate the family. Law enforcement has said they believe another animal got into the coop.

The Harts had been fighting to keep the chickens on their property.