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CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — A woman and her peacock are at the heart of a controversy in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. It all began when her peacock trespassed onto school property and left an unpleasant surprise behind in the form of bird poop.
Winden Rowe, a therapist, does not deny that her peacock, Gemini, relived himself outside the elementary school across the street from her house.
After complaints from school officials, Rowe was charged with disorderly conduct for failing to keep Gemini enclosed on her property and off of the grounds of the school.
However, she does refute that the incident, although repeated, does not merit her being charged with and found guilty of committing a misdemeanor.
Now, Rowe is appealing the conviction. The issue, for Winden Rowe, is not necessarily being reprimanded by law enforcement officials but rather the degree to which she has been charged and how it is going to affect her personal and professional life.
“It’s kind of laughable that I have to tell my professional associations about this thing that might show on my record and it’s about my peacock that pooped on a sidewalk,” Rowe says.
Rowe believes the recent change in Gemini’s behavior is born out of a disruption to his routine. Recently, Gemini’s mates and babies had been killed by a predator. Ever since, Rowe has noted a change in his actions but nothing remotely aggressive. In an Instagram post, Rowe asserts that they are working to correct his behavior.
“Gemini pooped on the sidewalk entrance to the school seeking shelter from a storm early one morning because in said storm, our barn door blew open. I didn’t mean harm. The bird didn’t mean harm. In fact, he wanted safety. Should he have been there? No. No argument there. But a disorderly?” Rowe adds in a separate post on Instagram.
As far as Rowe is concerned, the charge of disorderly conduct – a misdemeanor according to Pennsylvania state law – is not fitting in this case.
According to the state’s law, a disorderly conduct is warranted when one engages in fighting, threatening, violent behavior; makes unreasonable noise; uses obscene language or an obscene gesture; or hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.
“He’s a domesticated animal. He’s a pet. He’s not a threat to anyone. He’s really sweet. He’s more afraid of humans that not,” Rowe tells Eyewitness News.
Rowe is hoping that in the appeal process she will be given a more appropriate charge, but she won’t know for certain as the school district has requested a continuance for the appeal. That hearing is scheduled likely for January.
It also concerns her that this case would set a precedent that as an animal owner, you could be charged with a misdemeanor if your pet pooped in the wrong place.
In the meantime, she is pursuing alternatives to find a way to keep Gemini probably enclosed on the property without hindering his freedom. She hopes to instead find a solution akin to electric fencing but her absolute last resort would be to give the peacock away.
“He’s very important to me,” Rowe adds. “He’s been free his whole life, I won’t cage him. That’s not fair. I would rather give him to a farm but that breaks my heart.”
To learn more about Rowe’s perspective on the issue which she believes has been “blown way out of proportion” or how to help keep Gemini free at his home, click here.