FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Residents of a Fort Lauderdale neighborhood are warning that a woman and man have been hunting peahens and peacocks in the community. Two peacocks were shot this month and had to be euthanized.
Janette Swanson wants it stop.
In her South Middle River neighborhood, her house stands out among the rest.
She has nicknamed her corner of Northwest 18th Street "Peacock Walk," and it's obvious why.
"We didn't even know it before we bought the house, but I was elated. I was like, 'Oh my God, we got peacocks!'" Swanson said.
Since then, Swanson can be found outside feeding them regularly. She even had her home certified as a wildlife habitat.
She said most of her neighbors are pro-peacock, but then on May 5 a friend came over and told her he had caught a man and woman driving down the road shooting peacocks with some type of BB gun.
"I have no idea what would cross somebody's mind that they would come out here in their truck to shoot peacocks," Swanson said.
Veterinarian Antonia Gardner, of the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale, said a few days after Swanson friend spotted the armed pair, two peacocks were brought into the center with similar wounds and did not survive.
"For us to see that people have as little regard for them, that they're able to injure them and just leave them to suffer and die, it's very disheartening," Gardner said. "It makes us sad and angry."
It is illegal to shoot an animal and cause it to suffer and now the Fort Lauderdale Police Department is looking into these cases.
Swanson said the birds are neighbors too.
"This hunting season of peacocks in our neighborhood is not going to happen. That's not happening," Swanson said. "We're all watching out for him."
For neighbors who aren't as enamored with the birds, there are simple ways to keep them away from your home without hurting them.
Experts say to prevent peafowl from going on your property:
- Make sure you aren't feeding them by leaving seeds or other things out at your home.
- If they still come around, you can try spraying them gently with a hose - they don't like to be wet and will avoid the water.
- You can also sprinkle cayenne pepper on any plants they may try to eat.