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Calls to Action

Florida Boy with Autism Allowed to Keep Pet Chickens

December 12, 2013

The Debary, Fla., City Council has agreed to a resolution that will allow 3-year-old J.J. Hart to keep his pet chickens. The Hart family threatened legal action against the city in federal court for violating the Federal Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

"We're very happy," J.J.'s mother, Ashleigh Hart told the Orlando Sentinel. "We like to think that the chickens have been a great help in addition to everything else that we've done for J.J."

J.J. Hart's parents told the Orlando Sentintel that the 3-year-old is more talkative and calmer since they brought home 3 hens, which J.J. calls "ducks."

The Hart's chickens were part of a one-year trial program that allowed families to keep a backyard chicken coop. When the City Council decided to end the program at the end of this year, the Hart family spoke out about how the hens have been therapeutic for J.J. The initial news story prompted the local Debary commmunity as well as the online community rallied around J.J. and his hens.

The resolution only applies to the Harts, all other Debary residents will not be allowed to keep backyard chilcken coops.