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Ruffled feathers in Springhill

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City Council denies request for ‘therapy birds’

MARIA GONZALEZ
Special to the Minden Press-Herald

SPRINGHILL – Bird-lover Christopher Stutz was left both frustrated and heartbroken Monday evening after pleading with the Springhill City Council to change a city ordinance concerning his therapy birds.

The ordinance states that all livestock must be enclosed and at least 150 feet away from any property line.

However, Stutz lives on a small piece of land well inside Springhill city limits and has continuously added to his collection of geese, roosters, chickens, and other feathery friends.

Stutz claims to be training the majority of these birds, not only for himself but for others as well. The former Sheriff’s Deputy is currently living on Social Security disability benefits, and he claims that some of his birds actually help to monitor his pulse and let him know when his blood pressure is too high.

“For me, these birds are my life,” Stutz said. “I believe the ordinance should be rethought through, allowing people to have at least a small number of livestock at their personal residence. As long as it’s not causing any kind of commotion.”

In opposition to Stutz, his neighbor Karen Stephens told her side of the story. She claimed that the birds are a nuisance, and one of Stutz’s geese attacked friends that had come to visit her.

“There have been several complaints on Mr. Stutz and his birds over time,” said Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd. “When it becomes a sanitation issue, a smell issue, a noise issue, then we have to do something about it as law enforcement.”

After hearing both sides of the argument, council members [due to lack of motion] opted to keep the ordinance as it is written.

Shortly after the council meeting had adjourned, police were called out to Stephens’s home where witnesses say Stutz was causing a scene – angrily shouting profanities and waving his arms around hysterically as he walked in and out of neighbors’ yards.

Stephens told officers she did not wish to file charges and instead asked that the officers simply speak to Stutz to get him calmed down and away from her property.

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