Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Help Me Howard: Birds
She breeds more than 100 birds inside her home, and that's not only ruffled her neighbor's feathers. It also caught the attention of the county. It's tonight's Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- For kids, Christmas is the best time of the year. For Kari, this is the best time of the year.
Kari Edwards: "I probably have babies in close to 20 nests right now. Right now is the beginning of the season."
Kari is a breeder of birds.
Kari Edwards: "This is a baby cockatiel."
Not just a few birds at her home.
Kari Edwards: "Adults right now, I would say I probably have 140, 150."
She loves her birds. Her next door neighbor can't stand her birds. You can see where this is going.
Kari Edwards: "We bought the house October 2008, Within the first 12 months the county was out here nine times."
Kari's neighbor complains, Miami-Dade County has to come out.
Kari Edwards: "First they started telling me I'm not allowed to have birds here. 'Well,' I said, 'here is my license.' 'You're not allowed to breed the birds.' 'Read my license.'"
Kari believes her state-issued breeders license gives her the right to raise birds. Then the county issued a warning for selling birds from her home.
Kari Edwards: "'You're not allowed to sell the birds.' 'I don't sell them here, I sell them in public places. Read my license.'"
The county official then said Kari could only have 20 birds.
Kari Edwards: "I don't believe it applies to me."
Kari says the county ordinance capping the number of birds only applies to pigeons, and she says, despite what you may be thinking right now, her birds are not a noise problem.
Kari Edwards: "If I'm not back here, they're not being bothered. They're happy, they're full already. You don't hear them until I open up the back door and I come out. They're very quiet."
But her neighbor wants the birds gone, and keeps bugging the county to do something about it. The thought of losing these animals is devastating to Kari.
Kari Edwards: "It hurts me a lot that I might be powerless to defend myself against a neighbor who just is vengeful, for no reason."
Kari has a lot of birds but says, since she is a licensed breeder, it's legal. The county says no. Howard, you got an opinion?
Howard Finkelstein: "Yeah, this a tough call. The Miami-Dade county law only limits the number of pigeons you can have and doesn't say anything about the kind of birds Kari owns. So in other words, ask ten judges. Five may say the county can limit the number of birds, five may say they can't. 'And by the way, being a breeder doesn't make a difference in the number of birds you can have in your home.'"
We contacted Miami-Dade County. Rather than bore you with all the details about the complaints and warnings to Kari, I'll cut to the chase.
She can keep her birds. The county wrote us, "The bird issue has been closed. There is nothing further re: the birds."
Situations like this are a headache for the homeowner and the county officials.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you are going to do something that is out of the ordinary, like raise 100 birds at your home, you need to check with the city and county. Check with them to see what you can do and what needs to be done to get their approval. Also, get it in writing. It will help you avoid headaches down the road."
And closing the county bird complaint eliminates Kari's headache and makes her smile.
Kari Edwards: "I am happy. For now, at least, I can have my birds in peace."
Good news for Kari, but while the county was out there inspecting the birds, they gave her a notice of violation for installing a fence and shed without permits. It's another reason you don't want a code enforcement officer around your home. In many cases, they can always find something.
Sitting on a problem you feel is for the birds? Ready to see if they fly the coop? Let us sit on it. Hopefully we can hatch a solution. With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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