Chickens Who Helped Autistic Boy Make Friends Were Slaughtered for No Good Reason

save jj's ducksJ.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.

See what I mean? So sad. (To show your support, check out the FB page here.)
Do you think J.J. Hart's chickens should have been exempt from zoning laws?

Image via Facebook

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Mommi... MommietoJB

Who blew the whistle on this family for owning some chickens? The only way I would think this could bother neighbors is if they had a rooster.

cmjaz cmjaz

Chickens are pretty loud and smell. But ithink they're fairly quiet at night, which is what matters.

tyrel... tyrelsmom

Only roosters are loud. And they only smell if they're cooped up in a small unventilated area and not cleaned out. Someone is just an asshole. Who kills a toddler's pet? Whether they should be exempt? Meh. I'll bet if they tried they could have found pets they could legally have.

Lion731 Lion731

Chances are the people who did this have the annoying barking dog on the block. On that note, why is it my neighbor is allowed to leave his dog outside at all hours and it never shuts up and that's legal but this little boy can't have a few chickens?

Caera Caera

This is beyond ridiculous for a number of reasons. Here, I'll list some:

1) Cat

2) Dog

3) Hamster

4) Guinea Pig

5) Chinchilla

6) Ferret

7) Rabbit

8) "indoor" Bird (i.e. a parrot)

If the kid needed a pet, then they should've gotten a pet that isn't against zoning laws. THERE ARE SEVERAL TO CHOOSE FROM.

What happened to the chickens should never have, because the asshole parents should never have gotten them to begin with.

Vegeta Vegeta

They should get more chickens and have his doctor write an actual prescription for them, making them therapy/service animals protected under the ADA. My dog is and he's helped me a lot. But it can be ANY animal, especially if the doctor suggested them.

Trudy Evans

This message goes to a comment from Caera. I hope and pray that you never have a child, grandchild, sibling or friends who has been diagnosed with Autism or any other "special needs"!! When you are told your child is not going to be "Normal" your entire world changes. You will move heaven and earth to get them to not be stared at, made fun of, laughed at or bullied! And you, CERTAINLY ARE A BULLY!!! How dare you call this innocent child's parents such a name as you did for getting their child an animal recommended to them by the professionals who help guide them. I think you need some professional help yourself because you just don't think properly! Shame on you!!!

tuffy... tuffymama

Caera (whatever the hell kind of "name" that is), go back to your bridge. You can disagree without calling the parents assholes. I think somebody is an asshole here, and it isn't me or those parents. Smells like you.

CPN322 CPN322

Caera - who is to say he would like any of those animals? His doctor suggested chickens for a reason. And really, chickens are NOT loud and they don't smell if they are taken care of(just like any other animal) so to me allowing this child or anyone to have chickens shouldn't be a big deal. I'm so sick of all the sheep in this country blindly following stupid rules. And yes, not allowing a family to own some chickens is a STUPID rule.

sugar22 sugar22

Interesting.  I just read an article that said the parents were the one's who researched and decided chickens may help, not his doctor.  I'm sorry their child has Autism.  I'm also sorry that someone hurt the chickens, if that is what happened, since the police have it listed as an animal attack..  However, the parents really should have made the plea BEFORE getting the chickens.  Having an Autistic child does not give a person tthe right to do as they please.  By not doing things legally, it seems they've hurt their child in the long run.  

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