LACONIA — A Lakeport woman who kept a pet rooster at her home on North Street pleaded guilty yesterday in 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division, to a charge of disorderly conduct in connection with a confrontation with her neighbors that took place at a Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting in June, at which the board confirmed its earlier decision barring her from keeping the animal in a residential zone.
Two charges of criminal threatening against Bridgette Leroux, 44, of 58 North St., brought in connection with the same incident, were nol prossed, or dismissed, by the Laconia Police Department prosecutor James Sawyer.
Leroux was fined $1,000, with $750 of the fine suspended by Judge James Carroll, on the condition of one year of good behavior.
In 2014, Jeffrey Leroux purchased the rooster, a bantam - or smaller - breed, as an ornamental bird, at the Sandwich Fair as pet for his wife, who dubbed him "Pecker." When neighbors complained about his crowing to the Planning Department, Director Shanna Saunders ruled the Lerouxes could not keep poultry in a residential zone. The Lerouxes sought a variance, which was denied by the ZBA in April.
When the zoning board members met at the Belknap Mill in June, they reaffirmed the original decision, prompting Bridgette Leroux to turn in anger on her neighbors, Dan and Amanda Ouelette, who were seated several rows behind her. Seeking to restore order, Steve Bogert, chairman of the zoning board, warned Leroux if she persisted he would have her removed. In the meantime, Saunders called the police.
In July, the Ouelettes were granted a temporary restraining order forbidding the Lerouxes from contacting or communicating with them. In seeking the order, they recalled the confrontation at the zoning board meeting, alleging that Jeffrey Leroux threatened to damage their property and Bridgette Leroux threatened to physically harm them. Moreover, they told the court they had spoken with the police about the incident at the mill as well as another incident two nights later, when they called 911 to report disruptive behavior on the part of the Lerouxes.
Bridgette Leroux was then charged by police with disorderly conduct and she was also charged with criminal threatening.
Jeffrey Leroux said at the hearing on the restraining order sought by the Ouelettes that Pecker had been moved to Center Harbor, where he is living on the 57-acre farm owned by his father.