A widower who keeps chickens at his home has been ordered by Deltona code enforcement to reduce the number of his feathered friends — and he is so upset that he has gotten rid of all of them.
After having chickens on his property for 17 years, Glenn Wagoner, 85, a longtime Deltona resident, said he has given up his chickens because of the trouble from City Hall.
“It’s kind of lonely,” he replied Friday, March 6, when asked about the absence of the animals that he has loved.
The chickens were taken away by their two new owners Thursday evening.
“They’re going to good homes. They’re going to be spoiled. They will be treated like royalty,” Wagoner said.
Wagoner admitted he was keeping chickens at his home even before the city legalized urban poultry in 2016.
“Deltona city has caused themselves and a few other people a lot of grief with their regulations,” Wagoner said.
He was visited at home by code-enforcement officers on two consecutive days during the first week of March, he said.
Wagoner, a retired steel-plant supervisor and management consultant, can become emotional when speaking about his small feathered flock. He said he had 10 hens, five more than the limit set by a city ordinance.
Over the years, he had become attached to his chickens.
Wagoner got four chickens and two rabbits in 2003, and got a city-issued permit to keep chickens, after the city made the permits available.
“We bought them for the grandchildren and to enjoy,” Wagoner said. “It evolved into us getting a few more chickens. That was maybe a year later. I would say five or six more. We never had a lot of chickens. We kept them for — I wouldn’t say pets, but companionship. They were fun to watch.”
Keeping the chickens also meant fresh eggs, which Wagoner would sometimes give away to neighbors and friends. The grandchildren enjoyed egg-gathering.
“They loved to get the eggs. They would carry them [the chickens] around,” Wagoner said.
The trouble started, he said, when a neighbor complained about the chickens ranging beyond their backyard. Wagoner said his hens would sometimes leave their confines and strut onto the neighbor’s lot.
The complaints, he added, are rather recent, as he kept his chickens for years without ruffling any feathers. But code-enforcement officers gave Wagoner an ultimatum: Get rid of at least five hens before March 8, or face tougher action, such as a hearing before Deltona’s special magistrate for code enforcement or a court appearance that could result in steep fines for violating a city ordinance.
“They said if he did not get rid of five, they would pull his permit,” Carolynn Brenner, Wagoner’s caregiver, said.
Moreover, the city ruled that if Wagoner were to keep any chickens, he would be required to place a barrier over them to prevent them from wandering onto neighbors’ property.
“That costs $100 to put wire netting over them,” he said.
Rather than spend the money, Wagoner found new homes.
“Five are going to a farm in Osteen, and five will be on a farm on the north side of Deltona,” he said.
Wagoner said he will miss the chickens. Asked if he may adopt any other animals, Wagoner said he may get rabbits.