FORDHAM — The mother hen at a Bronx day care has her feathers ruffled after the city fined her twice for harboring illegal roosters that belong to a next door neighbor.
Emily Persuad, owner of 3 A’s Family Group Daycare at 2361 Morris Ave., said she was forced to miss two days of work to dispute illegal fines slapped to her door and in the mail for the Rhode Island Reds that aren't even hers.
“This does not belong to me. Why am I getting somebody else’s responsibility?” said Persuad, 47, whose first court hearing was in November 2016. “I have to leave here and miss a whole day.”
She was fined again on April 13 this year for the same violation and had to take the day to dispute the citation.
This time Persaud was forced to return to the administrative court with photographs proving the poultry wasn't hers.
Persaud's assistant, second in the pecking order, Denise Burke, 62, had to take over while the boss was fighting the tickets.
“That’s why she has her substitute,” Burke added. “On days that she needs someone to take care of the kids because she is [in court] she calls me.”
Denise Burke, 62, fills in for the day care owner, Emily Persuad when she disputes fines in court for the roosters. (DNAinfo/Tatyana Bellamy-Walker)
The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which enforces the ordinance against roosters, appears to have responded to 311 complaints made on October 5, 2016 and March 25, 2017, that cite Persuad’s address, which is closest to the coop.
Despite Persuad's complaints to the city, Department of Health investigators still have not found the correct owners of the property.
The department did not comment on the tickets against the day care owner.
“It feels bad to be accused of something I didn’t do,” said Persuad, who worried a state day care inspector would arrive when she’s in court. “The city does not do anything.”
City health spokesman Julien Martinez confirmed that inspectors investigated the lot in October of 2016 and April of 2017 and issued the tickets.
Persuad said now she stays quiet and takes the citations to the city's Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings whenever she receives them.
As of this week, the roosters could still be seen scratching about in the vacant lot, but many residents near it don't seem to mind.
Diana Hoard, 65, who lives nearby, said the roosters remind her of Puerto Rico, where her family is from.
“It’s a little part of being home,” said Hoard, whose 15-year-old son received a rooster from the owner, which was kept in her apartment, but now remains in the backyard. “It wakes up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning and it starts singing.”
“He’s nice man,” she added. “He’s not mistreating them. He makes sure they’re fed and he cleans after them. There is no problem.” She would not identify the man.
Jerry Pearce, 39, said his daughter enjoys passing by the roosters.
“They're kind of like pets,” Pearce said. “I rather hear that then a whole bunch of gunshots.”
But not everyone agrees.
Samara Vasquez, 30, who lives nearby on Walton Avenue, said the roosters disturb her child’s sleep.
“The wrong person is getting the ticket,” said Vasquez, who's a friend of the day care owner. “They need to be removed. It’s not right people have to sleep. We’re being woken up by these roosters at 4 a.m. or 5 o’clock in the morning.”
Vasquez says it’s unfair for health inspectors to peg the day care owner.
“She has to be up for the kids,” Vasquez said. “She’s very tired during the daytime because she’s waking up because of the noise.”
Two blocks away, at 2324 Morris Ave., Yolanda Robinson said there is another rooster near her apartment that disrupts her work environment.
“First of all, it shouldn’t even be there. I don’t know where it came from, but it really needs to go,” said Robinson, who has complained to the building's superintendent. “It’s just crowing, every day and at night and in the morning. It’s getting to the last nerve.”
“It's crazy, “she added. “This is [not] old McDonald had a farm in The Bronx.”