- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2013

Chickens seem to have helped an autistic boy in Florida come out of his shell, but local zoning authorities say they have to go — the residence isn’t zoned for agriculture.

The DeBary City Council voted 3-2 to do away with a one-year allowance they gave last December for residents to own up to three chickens and keep them in a coop in their backyards, Fox News said.

And the chicken ban isn’t sitting well with some parents.

“He’s now doing amazing,” said Ashleigh Hart, the mother of 3-year-old austic J.J. Hart, describing her son’s reaction to the birds. “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 … [and] it’s made a tremendous difference.”

The boy used to pull out his hair and throw himself to the ground.

“The chickens taught him to be calm,” said Joe Hart, the boy’s father, in Fox News.

But the chickens don’t belong in residential zones, Councilman Nick Koval said.

“It’s unfortunate and I sympathize,” he said in the Fox News report. “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.”

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