Monday, May 27, 2013
Help Me Howard: Peacocks
Peacocks are beautiful animals, a remarkable sight walking through a neighborhood ... unless they decide to hang around your house. But can you get rid of them? Will that get you in trouble? It's why one South Florida woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Lizzy DeBolt: "'They're gorgeous,' that's what I thought at first."
Lizzy lives in Cooper City, home to a few wild roaming peacocks. You can find them in other cities in South Florida, like Fort Lauderdale and Coconut Grove. Nice to look at. Not always nice to live near.
Lizzy DeBolt: "Then they started terrorizing me, and they're like a nightmare now."
The peacocks, often called peafowl, have really damaged Lizzy's property.
Lizzy DeBolt: "It's a new scratch from this morning!"
The birds like to stand on Lizzy's car. When they look down and see their reflection, they start to attack it.
Lizzy DeBolt: "Oh man, and look at all these scratches. There's tons of scratches all over here. This is brand new!"
They get up on the roof ... and go to work.
Lizzy DeBolt: "I had to get my roof replaced. They dig holes in it, and you can hear them running on the ceiling like big men, 'doom doom doom.'"
Lizzy had a nice screen over her pool. Had.
Lizzy DeBolt: "But then they have torn all my screens on the very top of my swimming pool only, and the neighbors' too."
They now like to walk around the pool and leave these souvenirs.
Lizzy DeBolt: "We used to swim before, but ever since the peacocks started pooping, for years now I haven't gone in that pool."
Lizzy says the damage is endless, and it's easy to know when the next attack is coming.
Lizzy DeBolt: "And they scream too. Sounds like someone is getting killed in the neighborhood."
The birds are wild. They don't belong to anybody, so Lizzy started making calls and asked if anything could be done to get rid of the peacocks.
Lizzy DeBolt: "They gave me a number, and every time I call this number, the lady tells me, 'There is nothing we can do about it.'"
Someone told her the birds were petrified of foxes, so...
Lizzy DeBolt: "We sprayed fox urine all the way around the place, and for two days it was OK. And then they came back again. Dude, I can't get rid of them."
One person suggested she poison them. Lizzy says she absolutely would never do that.
Lizzy DeBolt: "I love peacocks too, but not here."
Well, Howard, they are pretty, but also can be a pain, so can you do anything to get them out of your yard?
Howard Finkelstein: "The answer is yes, you can do a lot. They are considered non-native, meaning they are not protected. You can catch them and move them to a farm, but you cannot just dump them somewhere. You can contact an animal trapper and pay them to remove them, but you do not have to allow them to destroy your property or disrupt your life. You can get rid of them."
A trapper to remove all the peacocks could be expensive, so we called Cooper City and got some good news for Lizzy. We were told the city removed 20 peacocks a few years ago but couldn't catch three of them. The city manager told us if a property owner wants to get rid of the birds, they can catch them, and the city will pick up the birds and relocate them, or the homeowner can sign a waiver, and if the peacocks are on their property, the city will catch them and relocate them.
Lizzy DeBolt: "I will go and catch them myself."
Lizzy will now be able to get rid of the peacocks, meaning she can fix her screen, swim in her pool, and if she paints her car again, not have to worry about it getting scratched up each day.
Lizzy DeBolt: "I feel sorry for them, but not this. Sorry, it's costing me a fortune, it's costing me time."
Lizzy is now trying to trap the peacocks for the city. The birds are turning out to be smart. So far, they are not climbing in the coop. And in case you are wondering, when the birds are captured and handed over to a trapper, they are not hurt or killed, just sent to an animal preserve to live out their lives.
Colorful characters got you feeling trapped? Believe it's all for the birds? Contact us. We'll fly in and ruffle a few feathers for you.
With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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