Hinesville family fighting city to keep terminally ill daughter’s emotional support chickens


HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – A local family is battling to save their chickens. They say their terminally ill daughter needs them for emotional support.

Mary Ann Shirah is 11 years old living with a terminal genetic condition called Friedrich Atxiaa that affects her nervous system. The family says their orthopedic surgeon prescribed chickens to help with her emotional and physical therapy. The family has ten of them. But, now they may be forced to get rid of them.

The Shirahs say last year, inspectors from the City of Hinesville visited the home and found no problems. But now, the family says the fowl living in a coop in their backyard are in violation of city code and must be removed from the property.

The City of Hinesville told News 3 they’re still investigating.

“At this point the case is ongoing, but we have received complaints about they’re becoming a nuisance to residents in the area,” says Whitney Morris-Reed, with the City of Hinesville.

“They want us to get rid of the coop, and want us to get rid of the chickens and we’ve told them we’re not going to,” says Alexander Shirah, Mary Ann’s Father.

The family had many of their neighbors sign a petition stating that Mary Ann should keep her chickens. The city told us the case is under investigation pending the city inspection department and legal council.

According to the Hinesville City Ordinance, fowls are not allowed on a property if the situation becomes a nuisance or creates an unsanitary condition in the neighborhood.

An online petition has since launched to help Mary Ann keep her chickens. So far, in three days it’s gained 355 of 500 signatures.

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