Martinez neighbors at odds about dozens of wild peacocks

Peacocks in Martinez
Some Martinez residents say they're fed up with the peacocks that roam around the area. (WRDW-TV / May 8, 2012)
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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MARTINEZ, Ga. -- Dozens of neighbors in Martinez have their feathers in a ruffle over the future of a large pride of peacocks.

Some homeowners in the Old Ferry Road area love the beautiful birds, but others are complaining, calling them a nuisance.

The peacocks have lived in that area for more than 50 years, but some neighbors say they've grown out of control and now they want something done about it.

The birds are beautiful and exotic, but some residents, like Connie Burnette, are sick of them.

"I'm fed up with it. They poop everywhere," said Burnette, who has lived on Flores Drive for 49 years. "There's so many of them. We've counted 20 to 25 in our yard at one time and they've gotten to now where they're very destructive."

Burnette and a handful of her neighbors say the dozens of peacocks and peahens next door are destroying their property.

"They poop all on your porch, on your patio furniture, around your pool. They nest in your trees and they yell all night long and people can't sleep for them," Burnette said.

But not everyone wants the birds gone.

"I love them ... I think they're gentle and they're peaceful," said neighbor Amy Cooter. "They will eat right out of your hands."

Cooter said she enjoys taking pictures of them in her yard.

"From my point of view, they're not a nuisance; they don't bother anything, so it's hard for my family and most of my friends to understand why they would want them gone," Cooter said.

The birds had about 15 more acres to roam on until part of their land was sold for Magnolia Trace, a controversial low-income housing development under construction.

"We just can't fathom why anyone would want those beautiful birds gone," Cooter said.

"They're saying that we're animal haters. We're not animal haters -- I have pets of my own. They're pretty, and I enjoy one every now and then but not when you have a whole troll of them coming through your yard," Burnette said.

But the birds' owner may have a compromise to control the growing population.

"She said today she's going to thin the males out, definitely. There's just too many of them," Cooter said.

Burnette says that would help the situation.

"I think they just have so many now," she said.

The owners, Terry and Gerald Williams, inherited the birds and have been dealing with complaints for the last four years. They're apparently working to thin some of group by trapping and finding them good homes, but they say it will likely take some time.

County leaders also say they're fed up with the complaints. Administrator Scott Johnson says they're looking into what options they have, since they are not considered domestic animals.