Beloved peacocks in Colonial Heights may be forced out

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — Back in May, 8News introduced you to a family of peacocks that have been living in Colonial Heights for the past two decades. Now, the birds could be thrown out.

While the peacocks have been living in the city for decades, it was only recently that many residents learned of their existence. That happened after an animal, possibly a fox or coyote, tried to attack them, forcing the flock that lived at one man’s yard in Dunlop Farms to split up.

Despite many residents saying they enjoy the occasional peacock sighting, the city says they are not allowed.

“I purchased a male and a female, and the rest is history,” James Traylor told 8News back in May.

Since then, the family has multiplied. Now, roughly 10 live on Traylor’s 10-acre property.

Traylor says he does not consider the peacocks his. Rather, he allows the birds to run freely, never keeping them in cages.

But now, after at least one complaint from a resident, he could be forced to remove the birds from his property.

“The city attorney’s office had contacted the states regional veterinary supervisor and the peacocks are actually described as peafowl, which is a type of poultry or fowl,” Scott Davis, Director of Planning and Community Development for Colonial Heights explained.

Those type of animals are not allowed within city limits.

“In the zoning ordinance, poultry and fowl are classified as agriculture, and we do not have any land that is zoned agricultural,” Davis said.

That is unwelcoming news for Traylor and other residents who live nearby.

“I talk to to them, they look at me and I’ll say, ‘don’t you know it’s getting late and it’s getting dark and you better go home,'” said Doolie Cutler, whose backyard is a frequent place the peacocks visit. “They have been here for so long, you know? And I feel like they are just my friends and I see them in the road and I think about them getting hit by a car, but none, that I know of, has ever been hit by a car.”

A letter sent to Traylor by city officials says he has 10 days from the day he received the letter to apply for a special use permit, apply for a variance or relocate the peacocks out of the city.

“I would be sad if they had to leave,” Cutler added.

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