Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rural Hernando nuisance peacocks gone, but where is uncertain

BROOKSVILLE — For the first time since Durwood and Susan Horak moved into their home in a rural neighborhood northeast of Brooksville several months ago, the couple has been able to enjoy peace and quiet.

The Horaks, who in February sought relief from the county because their neighbor, Bernard Iscla, had dozens of noisy peacocks in cages near their property line, no longer have to wear earmuffs.

Last week, several men, women and a boy were seen on Iscla's property removing the birds, which, in addition to the peafowl, included parrots, macaws and cockatoos.

An officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed that all of the birds were gone when he inspected Iscla's property last weekend. Iscla, who cared for nearly 1,000 birds, according to a report by law enforcement, was not at the site.

"I'm really happy that the birds are gone,'' Durwood Horak said. "It's just as quiet as country should be. It's like a different world.''

Since Horak lodged his complaint, Iscla's property has been visited by county planning and zoning officials, animal services officers from the Sheriff's Office and the officer for the state wildlife commission.

During those visits, Iscla was told that the cages for the peafowl and many of the other birds were inadequate and he needed to make changes. Iscla immediately began that process.

While Iscla was frequently seen out on his property caring for his birds, about three weeks ago, Horak said, that changed.

Horak hasn't seen Iscla outside since.

The Times has been unable to reach Iscla since first trying late last week. His phone rings without an answer or an answering machine.

He did not return an email seeking comment about the removal of the birds.

None of the agencies that have been monitoring him ordered the removal of the birds.

According to wildlife commission Officer Baryl Martin, the birds were supposedly removed to the property of another licensed bird farmer, but as of Wednesday afternoon the state investigator was unable to reach that individual or inspect the new housing conditions.

An unknown number of Iscla's birds died on his property and were disposed of, and others died en route from stress, but no estimates of numbers were available, Martin said.

At first, Martin said, his agency was also not able to reach Iscla to ask what happened with the birds. Martin said Wednesday he now knows where Iscla is, but has been unable to talk to him. Martin declined to give further information, citing federal privacy laws concerning individuals' medical status.

Friends and neighbors who came to Iscla's defense in letters to the editor after the Times first wrote about the neighborhood dispute also could not be reached for comment.

Roland Medeiros of Brooksville criticized the Horaks in his letter, calling them "Johnny-come-lately city folk who move to rural Hernando County and then begin whining about a barking dog or, in this case, a peacock's call.''

Medeiros said he has known Iscla for 27 years and that Iscla has lived on his 5-acre tract on Blackjack Street breeding peacocks and exotic birds for 30 years.

"Bernard Iscla is a good and decent man and neighbor who doesn't deserve this nonsense from interlopers,'' Medeiros wrote.

Numerous attempts to contact Medeiros were unsuccessful.

Horak said that, while he was glad that he no longer had to listen to the screaming peacocks, he hoped that the county would forge ahead with some sort of ordinance that sets rules for property owners in order to avoid nuisance situations like his.

Officials said that the county attorney's office is working on such a measure. County Attorney Garth Coller told commissioners last month that even if they approved such an ordinance, it likely couldn't be applied to the Horak complaint because both he and Iscla live on agriculturally zoned land, where farms and animals are allowed.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

Rural Hernando nuisance peacocks gone, but where is uncertain 03/27/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 5:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Who's behind the mysterious butt graffiti all over St. Petersburg?

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first butts, perhaps, appeared in April on some steps behind the Sundial shopping plaza.

    A photo of the butt graffiti that has been cropping up around St. Petersburg in the past several months. [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | STAFF]
  2. During the most expensive mayoral election ever, St. Petersburg City Council wants to limit PAC money

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — In front of a large group of red-shirted campaign finance reform supporters, the St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday started the ball rolling on an ordinance that would limit individual campaign contributions to $5,000 from political action committees.

    A large crowd gathered Thursday to support passage of a controversial measure to limit campaign spending in city elections
  3. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  4. Peter Budaj loves 'vibe' with Lightning

    Blogs

    Two years ago, nobody was willing to give Peter Budaj a shot, the veteran goalie wondering if he'd ever play in the NHL again.

    Peter Budaj signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year.
  5. A test the Rays haven't passed

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — I have no idea what to think about the Rays. Not a clue.

    Tampa Bay Rays players celebrate their 8-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.