Florida woman files federal lawsuit to keep her emotional support chickens
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A woman in Florida has filed a federal lawsuit in the hope of keeping four pet chickens which were prescribed to her to help cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Karen Morris of Fort Myers claims that Lee County authorities have violated the federal Fair Housing Act by ordering her to rehouse her chickens within 30 days and pay a $285 fine. County authorities say Morris is violating zoning codes and could have to pay $25 for every day she keeps the chickens around once the 30-day grace period is up.
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Fox 4 reported that the dispute between Morris, the county and her local homeowners' association has rolled on for more than a year.
“My psychiatrist provided them a letter to acknowledge that an emotional support animal is beneficial to somebody with mental health difficulties,” Morris told the station, adding: "I’m disappointed in the fact that those chickens live in my private home that I pay mortgage on, and how people that don't live in my house [and] that aren't affected by this are so interested in being a part of it."
Morris said the chickens, which she calls her "girls," give her the emotional support that her medicine can’t.
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"It’s just disappointing, but you know God doesn’t close a door unless he’s got four open windows,” Morris told NBC2. "My girls have changed my life in a positive way and I’m not removing them. All my family members — my mom, my dad, my brother, my husband — are all deceased. The girls are all I have.