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Autistic Boy’s Family Wins ‘Therapy Chicken’ Fight

Friday, December 20th, 2013

The family of a 3-year-old Florida boy who has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum has won the right to keep a small group of “therapy chickens” that the family says have helped their son improve his quality of life.  More from Today.com:

The City Council of DeBary, Fla., unanimously approved a resolution on Wednesday evening that allows the parents of 3-year-old J.J. Hart to raise the three hens in their backyard as a reasonable accommodation under the Federal and Florida Fair Housing Acts. The resolution notes that “the chickens are primarily utilized for the purpose of enhancing the child’s life.”

“J.J. won… I’m glad,” DeBary Mayor Bob Garcia, who knows the Hart family well and has been a vocal supporter of their quest to keep the hens, told TODAY Moms.

“Maybe this will take the smudge off the city of DeBary that we don’t care about people with disabilities, and we can get back to the norm of how great the city really is.”

The small town near Orlando has been under intense pressure to take action since earlier this month, when the City Council voted to end a one-year “Urban Chicken Pilot Program” that allowed city residents – including J.J.’s family — to keep chickens in their backyard. Like many communities, DeBary limits the kinds of animals that can be kept in residential homes.

The decision devastated his parents, who say the feathered creatures did what physical, occupational and speech therapies couldn’t: Bring J.J. out of his shell. He likes to run after them and hold them, and he smiles when they are around.

Image: Chickens, via Shutterstock

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