Autistic Boy in DeBary, Florida no Longer allowed to keep chickens at family home

DeBary, Florida – J.J. Hart, 3 from DeBary, Florida and his family have been told by the local City Council members that they will no longer be able to keep chickens at their family home.

J.J. has three chickens that he likes to chase round in the family’s back yard and whom he fondly calls, ducks.

The chickens were bought to help J.J with his Autism and his parents report in the Orlando Sentinel article that he is a different child from 2 years ago.

His mother Ashleigh Hart is quoted as saying,

“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.”

The family are now faced with the decision of whether to get rid of their chickens or to leave DeBary.

The City Council decided last week to end a one-year trial program on Dec. 31 that allows residents to keep chickens in backyard coops.

DeBary Council member Nick Koval voted that chickens should no longer be allowed in residential communities and should remain in agricultural areas.

J.J’s father Joe Hart has hired an attorney to try and reverse the decision.

Dr. Emily Forrest, a developmental behavioural paediatrician for Florida Hospital for Children voiced that although chickens are unconventional in the use of Autism therapy as dogs and horses are more commonly used J.J has bonded with them and made progress.

DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia, who was in favour of keeping the chickens, is quoted as saying,

“It had so many benefits for this child…it would have shown that we’re a community that is compassionate and understanding.”


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