“In my district, we learn to live with these peacocks,” said Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, representing Palmetto Bay, which has designated itself a bird sanctuary. “They almost become a part of the community. I know our residents lose it when anyone harms any of these peacocks.”
The county’s 2001 peafowl ordinance was adopted following a petition drive to save a flock of peacocks in south Miami-Dade, forbidding their killing or capture. An exemption allowed homeowners to remove them, and one neighborhood did so in 2020 after an amendment allowed for removal of excess peacocks.
State laws on non-native species prevent them from being released back into the wild, however, and many sanctuaries won’t take them.
“We searched statewide for a sanctuary or zoo that would accept them,” said Assistant Director Kathy Labrada. “The alternative is humane euthanasia.”
Regalado initially tried to repeal the ordinance entirely, but other commissioners resisted to avoid killing the birds, the Herald reported.
“Are we talking about sentencing peacocks to death now?” asked Commissioner Oliver Gilbert.
Commissioners finally agreed 5-4 to water down the law, allowing cities to opt out after submitting peafowl “mitigation” plans.
Regalado said the challenge for municipal leaders will be finding places to relocate the peacocks, since euthanizing them likely won’t win support.
“This really is not about killing,” she said. “This is about moving.”