Flying the coop: Florida man sick of living next to neighbor's chickens

Hens, roosters and pigs - oh my! One Santa Rosa County man is sick of living next to neighbor's livestock and he's asking the county to step in. (WEAR-TV)

SANTA ROSA COUNTY, FLA. (WEAR-TV) — Hens, roosters and pigs, oh my! A Santa Rosa County man says he is sick of living next door to livestock and he wants the county to step in.

Bob Morrow lives in a residential neighborhood off Old Baghdad Highway. He says his neighbor's two pot-bellied pigs and dozens of chickens are noisy, invasive and have a foul smell.

"I love animals," said Morrow. "But they don't need to be in a subdivision like this."

Aside from the sounds and smells, Morrow says he is worried about disease and bacteria, because they occasionally fly the coop and he has photos to prove it.

"I've got them in the middle of the sandbox, I've got them all up and down the fence, I've got them jumping back and forth," said Morrow. "That little fence there isn't going to hold a chicken and they know it."

Jeff Briggs, the man who owns the chickens, spoke with us over the phone. He was surprised to hear the animals were in Morrow's backyard, adding they don't usually roam.

"If he has a problem with my chicken being in his yard, I can remedy that," said Briggs. "But I've never heard one complaint from my neighbor bob about a chicken being in his yard."

Briggs says this is not really about chickens but more so a long-standing dispute between neighbors.

"I've extended the olive branch to this individual many a time," said Briggs. "He doesn't want to make peace."

Right now, there is no county ordinance addressing fowl, so the chickens can continue to rule the roost.

However, there is an ordinance banning people from keeping pigs in residential areas.

"They're considered swine," said County Commissioner Bob Cole. "You can't keep them."

Cole says the county has made exceptions in the past.

"My pot-bellied pigs are not swine," said Briggs. "Swine is raised as meat for food... And these are not, these are pets."

The ordinance could soon be amended. Cole says the county has stopped all enforcement action on pigs until a ruling is made.

"I hope that it goes well and that we can change that ordinance to allow two pot-bellied pigs per family," said Cole. "If it doesn't affect the ruling of the [homeowner's association]."

As a government entity, Cole adds it should not be the county's responsibility to enforce civil actions between neighbors. Morrow disagrees.

"That's why we elected them, to make those decisions," said Morrow. "If they can't make them, then get out and we'll put somebody up there that can."

On Thursday night, the county planning and zoning board is proposing an amendment to the land development code to allow for mini pigs in residential subdivisions.

The board of county commissioners will hear the proposal and make a final decision in two weeks.