Judge Pecks at Suit Over Toucan Aviary
ORLANDO (CN) - A Florida couple suing for the right to operate a toucan aviary in their backyard must amend their claims against Orange County, a federal judge ruled.
David and Jennifer Foley raise toucans and are licensed to possess, exhibit and sell the birds from their residence and a second property in Christmas, Fla.
Orange County said it received a complaint that the Foleys were selling birds from their home in 2007. A code-enforcement officer observed the aviaries and advised the couple that they needed a building permit for such structures.
When he saw that the Foleys had not removed the aviaries in a second inspection of the residence three weeks later, he issued a citation.
The county ordered the couple to obtain the proper permit or take the aviaries down. When the Foleys learned that the property is zoned R-1A, a residential zoning district that does not allow the aviaries, they sued the county, several code-enforcement employees and members of the county commission and zoning- adjustment board.
They contended that the aviculture regulations were invalid and that Orange County therefore cannot use them to prevent the sale of residentially raised toucans.
U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton concluded Tuesday, however, that the Foleys the time to bring federal claims against county employees has expired.
The judge also dismissed the Foleys' claims against zoning board members and county commissioners after finding that the officials' conduct fell within their legislative function.
The Foleys have until Jan. 4 to file an amended complaint.