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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Ruffling feathers

LAND O' LAKES - Barbara Wishart is all heart when it comes to her Maltese puppy, Suessli, but when it comes to dozens of peacocks and peahens populating her Pasco County neighborhood, it's another story. The birds woke her up Saturday morning - when they landed on her roof - she said. "They are loud. They are noisy, and to me they are a wild animal that should be in a bird sanctuary," Wishart said. Wishart is worried the peafowl droppings left on her sidewalk and yard carry disease.
Two weeks ago, she called in private trappers to remove the birds from her property, but neighbors called the Pasco County Sheriff's Office when the trappers chased the birds into their yards. "They came out with fishing nets and were actually going out on private property onto my yard," Gary Ehmann said. Ehmann said he was disappointed that deputies allowed trappers to take three of the birds. "I have no problems with the birds; to me, it's part of nature," Ehmann said. Neighbor Kenneth Keith feeds the birds cat food and peanut butter sandwiches. He said he doesn't understand why Wishart wants them removed. "I think they're beautiful birds. They were here before the houses were here," Keith said. Protecting the peacocks and peahens has become a cause celèbre in the Foxwood neighborhood, which is off Willow Bend Parkway. Some neighbors have even posted signs saying, "Save Our Peacocks." The outcry has been so great, Wishart said she is abandoning her efforts and hopes not to ruffle any more feathers. "I don't like my neighbors to be angry," she said. "I didn't think I was doing anything bad."

Reporter Krista Klaus can be reached at (813) 225-2736.

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