Texas couple challenges exotic animal ban

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by JOBIN PANICKER

WFAA

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 9:45 AM

PARKER, Texas — Keith Mantey and Wei Wei Jeang moved to the town of Parker in 2002 because they felt it was a little closer to "country."

"We found this little piece of paradise... we thought," Jeang said.

The couple lives in a corner-lot home on more than four acres.

"We have seven chickens, six peacocks, one emu, a macaw, eight dogs..." Mantey said, listing their livestock.

He said a police officer recently came to their door and told them they couldn't have those animals.

"He said, 'There had been some complaints about your animals,' and that's the way he phrased it," Mantey said.

The couple were technically violating Parker's 2008 exotic animals ban. It expressly states that emus and even peacocks are forbidden.

"The list of animals is very arbitrary," Jeang said. "It just seems like it's personal preference."

Instead of waiting for paradise to fade, they fought and gathered 325 petition signatures. And in response, Parker's Planning and Zoning Commission has decided to review its exotic animal policy.

"Everybody wants to live in the country with city rules; I don't know what that's about," said Buck Mahaney, a former City Council member who has lived in Parker for more than 42 years.

There's a nomadic peacock that always hangs around his place.

City officials were not available to respond, but the issue is up for public comment at the end of February.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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