A Wisconsin man is fighting to keep his beloved gaggle of geese after receiving a notice from the town of Beloit saying that it was against a town ordinance to keep fowl on residential properties.
The geese, named after characters in "I Love Lucy," serve as therapy pets to 57-year-old Robert "Bob" Sparks, who was traumatized after a motor vehicle accident, according to a Change.org petition started by his wife, Sylvia Davis.
In the petition, Davis explained her husband would "lay in a hospital bed, wishing his life away." She said a doctor told her that Sparks "needed a purpose that would make him get up in the mornings and want to live again!"
That purpose came in the form of five pet geese named Lucy, Ricky, Fred, Ethel and Mrs. Trumble.
Sparks said that the birds have given him newfound motivation to go outside and live life, local ABC affiliate WKOW reported.
"I have to get up and let them out everyday, feed and water 'em," he told WKOW. "I have to change and water 'em every day because they love to take baths."
Sparks added, "Once something gets in your heart, it gets embedded in you. I'm embedded in them, and them, in me."
But recently, Sparks said he got a letter from his town saying he had 10 days to remove the geese and that he was in violation of a town ordinance prohibiting the possession of fowl on residential properties.
"It was a shock," he said.
Sparks has since gone to the town of Beloit's administrative office to fight the town's request that he remove his geese, according to town administrator, Ian Haas.
"The gentleman provided me with a doctor's note stating he should be able to keep the service animals as he has health issues that make them necessary for him to be able to carry out daily activities," Haas told ABC News today. "So we've provided him with a variance application to make an exception and right now, we're just waiting for it to come back to us."
Once Sparks fills out and returns the variance application, Haas said he would pass it along to the city's clerk, who would then send notices to Sparks' neighbors to find out if they support him keeping the fowl.
Based on the application and neighbors' responses, Haas said he would then write up a recommendation, which along with the application, would be forwarded to the town's board of adjustments for a final decision.
The whole process will likely take about a month, and meanwhile, the town is allowing Sparks to keep his geese, according to Haas.
Sparks "does have a petition signed by his neighbors, who don't seem to mind if he keeps them," Haas said. "He also has a doctor's note and the pictures of where he keeps the geese appear to show they're very well kept."
Haas added, "As a huge animal lover myself, I'm very glad the gentleman has found comfort in these service animals, and more than likely, I will recommend he keep them."