LACONIA — The neighbors of a Lakeport couple who have been keeping a pet rooster in their home as a pet have obtained a temporary restraining order against the fowl's owners, which bars them from contacting them or communicating with them.
The order was granted by Judge James D. O'Neill III in Belknap County Superior Court Tuesday and remains in effect until a hearing on the complaint seeking the restraining order is held within 10 days of the order being issued.
The complaint filed by Dan and Amanda Ouelllette of 46 North Street, maintains that the owners of the rooster, Jeffrey and Bridgette Leroux of 58 North Street, made threatening remarks to them at a June 15 meeting of the Laconia Zoning Board of Adjustment, at which the Lerouxs were denied a request for a rehearing on their request for a zoning variance which would have allowed them to keep the rooster, named ''Pecker'', as a pet.
According to the complaint, Jeffrey Leroux threatened property damage for allegedly saying to the Ouellettes, ''I guess that's the end of your garden this year,'' and Bridgette Leroux made a threat to harm the Ouellettes before she abruptly left the meeting room which was on the first floor of the Belknap Mill.
The complaint says that the Ouellettes have talked with Laconia Police about the threats made at the ZBA meeting and an incident two nights later in which they called 911 to report that the Lerouxs were being disruptive.
''As a result of all this we are not quite sure of what to expect from our neighbors,'' the complaint reads, saying that ''there exists some anxiety from all of these events.''
The complaint cites an article which appeared in the June 17 edition of The Daily Sun, which Dan Ouellette said ''offers a pretty good portrayal of the event.''
The story reported, ''the board voted 4-1 to deny the Lerouxs' request for a rehearing, prompting an angry reaction from Bridgette Leroux, who turned on the neighbors who had made the complaint about their rooster, Dan Ouellette and his wife, Amanda. who were seated behind them at the Belknap Mill.
''Want to step outside?'' she said to the Ouellettes, standing up and pointing her finger at them. She then said ''Grow up. We wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you,'' and uttered a profanity as she started to leave the room.
Steve Bogert, chairman of board, said that unless the disruption ended he would have to have Leroux removed from the hearing room.
Bogert then advised Jeffrey Leroux that if he planned to go the next level and appeal that he should do so in a timely manner as there was a time limit in which an appeal could be filed with Belknap County Superior Court.
Jeffrey Leroux said after the meeting that he planned to appeal the denial to Belknap County Superior Court.
Leroux bought the rooster at Sandwich Fair last year as a pet for his wife. In December, the Planning Department told the Lerouxs that the zoning ordinance prohibited the keeping of poultry in a residential district and advised them that they would either have to give up the rooster or apply for a variance.
Planning Director Shanna Saunders has said that the zoning ordinance defines "agriculture" as "the production, keeping or maintenance for sale, lease or personal use, of plants and animals," including poultry, and forbids agricultural uses of property in residential districts like North Street.
On May 18 the ZBA denied the Lerouxs' request for a variance by a 4-1 vote.
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