Peacock Predicament

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 12:56pm

Noisy "Petey Peacock" tests neighbors' patience.

An unusual neighborhood dispute over what's allowed in one's backyard is ruffling feathers in a Harford County, Maryland community as the County Council considers expanding a law regulating animals.

Lisa McNair and her family own Petey, a male peacock, and several other pea fowl.

They are a permanent fixture in the Bynum Overlook Community in Abingdon, a compact residential neighborhood.

"Harford County law says I can put anything I want in my yard but a chicken," McNair said.

Of course, some neighbors aren't too pleased -- mostly because Petey is noisy, especially now since it's breeding season.

One neighbor, who chose not to be identified, said the noise interrupts sleep.

"They squawk all night long," the neighbor said. "At first, it was pretty unique. I took pictures. But I get up at 5 a.m., so it's not pretty anymore."

"When evening comes, he starts calling to let everybody know that this is his territory," McNair said. "There are other animals in the neighborhood."

Harford County inspectors have responded to complaints about the peacocks, which county law limits to five per property.

The county prevents the McNairs from caging the peacocks because the houses in the neighborhood are so close.

"If people would stay out of my business, my birds would be penned, but they didn't. So, zoning came and said to release the birds," McNair said.

The county considers the peacocks domestic animals, albeit noisy ones.

When asked whether she's keeping her peacocks at her home, McNair said, "Yes, they're my pets."

Harford County officials say that the County Council is considering a proposal at a meeting Tuesday night that could increase the number of animals property owners can have -- peacocks included.

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