CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte woman hopes she can convince Animal Control not to evict her emu.
Shellie Pincay said she rescued her unusual pet from slaughter nearly a decade ago, and the bird has lived in her east Charlotte backyard ever since.
“She’s just like a dog to me,” said Pincay.
The bird is not like a dog to neighbor Willie Williams. He claims the emu smells and attracts flies and rats.
“It’s food source has now become a food source for very large rats. They are in everyone’s yards now and they get in the houses around this community, especially mine, because I live so close,” explained Williams.
Pincay disagreed, claiming she cleans up the emu food after it eats.
Williams said he took photos of the rats to the Health Department, which prompted Animal Control to visit Pincay’s home July 1 with a 30 day notice to get rid of the emu, calling it an exotic animal.
Pincay said in the past she has received permits labeling the emu as “livestock” -- keeping her in compliance with city code.
“I don’t understand what has changed,” said Pincay.
Williams is happy that, after years of complaining, Animal Control is acting.
“I would be more respectful of my neighbors, seeing as how these houses are as close as they are. We’re in the city, we’re not on a farm, where they need to be,” said Williams.
Pincay said if the city tries to seize her emu, “If I had to, I would go to jail.”
She hopes it will not come to that and plans to request a formal hearing.