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Monday, November 4, 2019

Florida man's phony 'emotional support rooster' is a cock-a-doodle-don't

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 5:54 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ASHES SITOULA/UNSPLASH
  • Photo by Ashes Sitoula/Unsplash
Residents of a Jacksonville suburb have been getting a rude awakening from one neighbor's Asian Hawaiian rooster, which he claims is his emotional support animal.

"It'll go for like 20 seconds or 30 seconds. Then it will stop, and then it’ll go right back," neighbor Freddy Peugnet said, according to WFTV, about the pre-dawn crowing. He and others in East Arlington began expressing doubts about the animal's purpose when they realized it was always outside.



"What’s strange is the rooster is in the backyard," said Peugnet, "and if this is his emotional support animal, why isn’t it indoors providing emotional support?”

Roosters are not allowed within city limits, and the noise became a big problem soon after the animal appeared. In fact, community members in the area said they even stopped setting their alarm clocks, due to the early-morning racket.

"Frankly, we’re getting very tired. I mean, I’m exhausted right now. My wife's at work, she calls me, she's tired every day. At 3 a.m., we're woken up by a rooster," Peugnet told ActionNewsJax.

The owner, who was not identified by name in news reports, told ActionNewsJax that he picked up an Asian Hawaiian rooster off the street for emotional support, and that's the same line he delivered to city officials.

"It was just a joke," Peugnet said.

Finally, after growing pressure from his neighbors, the rooster's owner agreed to release it from his yard, allowing it to provide free-range "comfort" to anyone else in need.

"I love animals," said the owner. "That’s why I let him stay around here, but if people are going to complain, I don’t need him. I don’t need the trouble."
Emotional support animals are legitimately needed by lots of people to assist with conditions like PTSD and anxiety. Some unscrupulous people claim pets as support animals to avoid pet deposits or to allow them into places which otherwise prohibit animals. This is fairly easy to do, with online "doctor" services like Waggy offering certification letters for as low as $22.

Florida law currently prohibits misrepresentations of service animals with a penalty of up to 30 hours' community service. One state legislator, Hialeah Republican Sen. Manny Diaz, filed a bill in March that would require pet owners to have their pets authorized by real doctors, and make false claims a second-degree misdemeanor, but the bill died in committee in May.

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