Animal Welfare

Neighbors Convinced the City Seized a Beloved Flock of Free-Range Oak Cliff Peacocks [Updated]

Update at 1:19 p.m.: No, the peacocks are not being removed. That's the word from city spokesman Frank Librio, whose full explanation follows after the jump.

Original post: Last weekend, someone called 911 to report "loose fowl of various kinds running freely in the street in an area very close to the Dallas Zoo," as Dallas police put it. Animal control quickly rounded up the birds and found their owner on Lakeview Drive, who agreed to surrender them in order to get a handle on their living condition. Case closed, right?

Not quite. Residents of Beckley Club Estates are -- wait for it -- crying foul, claiming that the city has cast too wide a net in its crackdown on exotic birds, rounding up a flock of peacocks that have freely roamed the neighborhood for decades.

A petition, and its sister Save the OC Peacocks Facebook page say the city "is planning to forcefully remove the peacocks" from the neighborhood.

My former colleague, Georgia Fisher, has a print-only report in today's edition of Oak Cliff People but offers some details on the paper's blog. The Lakeview Drive residents police and animal control contacted last weekend were Kay and Melvin Anderson who, like many of their neighbors, had been feeding the peacocks for years.

Strangely, there's also a debate over what birds were seized. Animal control claims they took a single duck, according to Fisher, whereas DPD announced the seizure of several birds.

Neighbors seem inclined to believe the latter. A commenter on a previous Oak Cliff People blog post wrote on April 2 that she had seen officers taking the birds. "They throw huge nets over them, roll them up and take them away to live in cages," she wrote. "This is so obscene."

The answer to what's really going on, and to the birds' ultimate fate, is hidden somewhere in the folds of city bureaucracy. We have an email out to city spokesman Frank Librio to see if he can help clear things up.

Statement from Librio:

Peacocks are not being removed. Dallas Animal Services (DAS) received a call for assistance through DPD dispatch on Saturday, March 30. DAS animal officers went to the location, assessed the situation, spoke with an area resident that apparently had been feeding the birds, and did not remove any peacocks. DAS did take one domesticated duck and has placed it with a wildlife group. DAS has been in contact with other neighbors in this area and is enlisting support from a wildlife management group to offer tips to any residents concerned about preventing property damage by the peacocks.

Officers discovered the wildlife on routine patrol in the area and observed 20-30 birds in the road. There were turkeys, roosters, peacocks, ducks, and guineas. Due to their proximity to the zoo, officers thought they may have wandered from zoo property. Officers contacted the zoo and determined the birds did not belong to the zoo. The officers then asked the police dispatcher to request DAS to respond.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson