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Rhode Island City Muzzles Lawsuit Against Cursing Cockatoo

Counsel Financial

The city of Warwick, Rhode Island has voluntarily discontinued a noise ordinance case against Lynne Taylor, who was cited by the city after numerous complaints from her neighbors concerning her foul-mouthed pet cockatoo. According to the neighbors, Taylor’s pet cockatoo repeatedly swore and hurled insults at them over a period of months in 2011. Taylor’s next-door neighbors were particularly sensitive to the constant taunting from the bird, which is understandable since they were Taylor’s ex-husband and his girlfriend.

Taylor’s ex-husband gave Taylor the bird as a present before they divorced. Taylor's ex claimed that after he moved in next door with his new girlfriend, Taylor trained the bird to repeatedly call the girlfriend a “f—ing whore.” Taylor’s attorney, however, said that the bird was not taunting her ex-husband’s paramour, but rather, was simply saying “knock it off.” Taylor’s lawyer was fully prepared to fight the noise ordinance violation, arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional, because it was vague, highly subjective and intended for barking dogs. Reports suggest the ordinance actually deems any dog, animal or “fowl” that habitually makes noise that disturbs a neighbor a public nuisance. Taylor faced a $15 fine for violating the ordinance.

Taylor’s attorney indicated he intended to fight the fine “all the way to the Supreme Court.” The city, however, rendered any such protracted battle unnecessary, withdrawing the action and claiming that it was not the best use of city resources to enforce the $15 fine.

Lest the good reader think this an isolated case, think again. In 2008, the UK Daily Mail reported the story of “Barney the Swearing Parrot,” coincidentally heralding from the Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary in Great Britain. During a visit to the sanctuary by a number of civic leaders, the seven-year-old macaw told the local mayor “f—off.” So as to not single out the mayor, the bird then turned to the vicar and two police officers accompanying her and allegedly told them to perform the same endeavor. The bird didn’t stop there, however, soon teaching the two African Greys, with whom he shared his cage, a litany of his favorite curse words. The birds spent most of their time swearing at each other, while shocked patrons quickly covered their children’s ears.

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