J.J. Hart's chickens never should have been a point of contention in the first place. The 2-year-old autistic boy's doctor recommended the animals as pets, saying the chickens could be therapeutic, and it turned out the doctor was right: J.J.'s parents said interacting with the chickens was helping him to develop social skills and improving his mood. He even ate the organic eggs! He loved going outside to the chicken coop his parents built in their backyard (he called his little friends "ducks").
But apparently someone in J.J.'s Florida town of DeBary doesn't like "ducks," because an anonymous complaint was filed with the city council, and the council subsequently informed J.J.'s family that due to residential zoning laws, the little boy's beloved chickens would have to go.
Devastating news, though the blow was softened somewhat on Wednesday night when the council decided to give the Harts a 60-day reprieve from the ruling. During those 60 days, the family planned to rally as much local support for the animals as possible -- as a medical treatment (for a 2-year-old autistic boy, no less), shouldn't the chickens be exempt from zoning laws, after all?
But they never got the chance. On Saturday morning, they discovered something horrible in the coop. Four of J.J.'s chickens had been killed -- their heads sliced off -- and one more was "severely wounded."
Can you even imagine?! Who would DO such a thing? (So far the police don't have any leads.)
At least J.J. wasn't outside at the time to witness the carnage. Still, he's been asking for his "ducks" ever since, which is beyond heartbreaking. Just reading this passage from the Facebook page his parents set up after the council's initial ruling (Save J.J. Hart's "Ducks") and thinking about what ended up happening to those chickens is enough to bring tears to your eyes:
JJ has gone from being afraid of things as simple as a Merry Go Round to LOVING animals, caring for them, and even socializing with others!!!!! While I do not give our Chickens 100% credit, I DO KNOW for a fact, that they have played a huge part in his socialization skills, building leg strength from chasing them so much, helped him with his "fear" of the unexpected, and somehow captures his attention.
Image via Facebook