Local mother fights to keep her autistic son’s therapy chickens

By Tanae Howard

Four chickens brought 10-year-old Anthony Frushon the healing he had been searching for.

“It makes me feel really, really good,” said Anthony.

Anthony suffers from autism. His condition causes anxiety, OCD, and a sleeping disorder. After insurance no longer paid for therapy, he discovered healing in chickens. He trained them with a bell, even taught them to hug. But his happiness could hit a snag.

“I registered them as emotional support therapy birds for him. I called the town to let them know and that’s when I was told that the birds would have to go, that there’s an ordinance,” said his mother, Sherri Frushon.

We found the town of Brownsburg ordinance online. It clearly states farm animals are not allowed in single family homes if you don’t have a half acre of land.

“He’s found something and I have to support that and I do support that and I want to make sure his rights are fully covered,” Sherri said.

Sherri says the town threatened to fine her if the chickens were not removed in 10 days. That deadline passed and the town did not act. They’re giving her the chance to follow the proper procedures to have farm animals and get her neighbors’ approval to keep the chickens. However, Sherri says the process is too much under the circumstances.

“I have been his advocate all this time. But I think what they’re asking me to do is a little bit too much. Just a little bit too much to go out there and knock on doors.”

But now her mission is to change the town ordinance so it’s more sensitive to therapy animals and people with disabilities. She even started an online petition that has more than 34,000 signatures from people all over the world.

“Who doesn’t just want to be accepted? And that’s what my son wants to be. He just wants to be accepted and his birds genuinely make him feel that way. He doesn’t have to get their approval. There’s no negativity.”

Sherri would like to present the Brownsburg zoning committee with a copy of the American Disability Association guidelines to see if they’re willing to revamp the ordinance for people who use farm animals for therapy.

On Wednesday, Aug. 6, the Town of Brownsburg released the following statement about the situation:

Regarding Brownsburg resident Sherri Frushon’s desire to keep chickens at her South Jefferson Street home it is important to note that contrary to multiple reports, the Town of Brownsburg has not ordered the removal of the animals.

Ms. Frushon is the tenant at the property. She called the Brownsburg Planning Department several weeks ago to ask about the Town’s ordinance regarding the keeping of chickens, animals that are typically considered “farm-related.” The Brownsburg Planning Department has provided Ms. Frushon with the information regarding the process to request a variance of the zoning ordinance. Town staff has endeavored to be helpful to Ms. Frushon on the phone and through email exchanges and has offered to meet with her.

To date, the Town has not received a formal complaint about the chickens on the property, and as such, it has not taken any action against either the tenant or the property owner. If the property owner decides he wants his tenant to keep the animals, the Town’s Board of Zoning Appeals does have a variance request process and State statutes allow for variance requests to deal with issues like this that are not typical. (Indiana Code 36-7-4-918.5, Board of Zoning Appeals; Variance from Development Standards). The tenant must have the property owner’s participation or approval to seek a variance. If together they decide to move forward with the process, the Town’s planning staff will assist them, as they would any resident seeking a variance.

To be clear, the Town of Brownsburg has not received a complaint from any surrounding neighbors or a request to inspect the property. The Town of Brownsburg has not taken action against the tenant or the property owner regarding compliance with the ordinance nor has it asked for action from the tenant or property owner at this time.


  • Wilbur Wingate

    I’d suggest that the town of brownsburg get over it. Find a way.
    I didn’t spend 10 years of my life in defense of this nation to have a town council tell any child they can’t have a chicken

  • Sarah Smith

    This whole story is hilarious… she was in the ladies group talking about these chickens as family pets and she had to give them away because the town of Brownsburg told her too.. they were not therapy chickens they were family pets… suddenly they became therapy chickens and it went viral. She said she had to use them as therapy chickens because Brownsburg Community Schools refused to provide any type of therapy for her son and she had to sue them to provide services.. and she said she won, but yet pulled her son out of school “after winning” and now she can’t afford therapy on her own. Now suddenly that chicken is prime therapy…Then on another news site comment wanting people to set up a site for donations.. pllleeeeaaassee… this girl is a martyrdom trip….

    • Paying taxes

      She lives off the govt, she just wants money and she is using her son to get it! Her son has asperger and is light on the scale, she is using him! The story keeps changing .. Hmmmm …dig a little deeper on this story and you’ll find a real interesting character ….

    • TellTheTruth

      You are on to her! She threatens to sue everyone. Look at the reply to Joan’s comment. There is a lot more to this story. This isn’t about her son …

  • Mary

    In the amount of time it has taken this woman to go to news sites and make videos, she could have easily gotten the signatures she is claiming is too much. The town is not saying get rid of the chickens, they are saying take the steps needed to go about keeping them. Come on people!

  • Lisa

    Chickens do not require much room as long as they are fed & well cared for. It really doesn’t matter whether they are therapy pets or not. Pets are pets. What would be in the difference in have a parakeet? A chicken is just a larger bird. Unless there’s a rooster in the bunch, they don’t even make much noise & what they do make isn’t loud & disturbing to anyone.

  • Joan

    She had the chickens in her home “illegally” BEFORE she knew they helped her son. She didn’t follow ordinances originally and niw wants ti say she can’t be bithered following the same rules everyone has to follow. While I am thrilled she found something that helps her son, just take the necessary steps like everyone else and stop trying ti act like they are being discriminated against.

    • UgotThatRight

      I know this family. The boy is mild with aspergers and she went through several doctors to get that label. I think the child was around the age of 5, when she finally found a Dr to give her the label, all she wanted was govt funds. she doesn’t work, just sometimes long enough to collect unemployment. Check the video, he is not severely disabled. She knows how to work the system. This isn’t about the chickens. Where is her family on this? She has 5 kids (from 4 men), brothers and sisters and living parents, but no comment from them? She has questionable character. Maybe the real story is greed, money, and yet another x-husband she is milking and fighting. She is using this boy. Her own daughter said she has munchousen. This woman needs psychological help!

  • Nate

    I live nearby and this is another wrongheaded move by Brownsburg where government corruption abounds. For example, town councilman Rob Kendall holds 3 paying government jobs which is unlawful by Indiana statute.

  • Bonnie M Sloan

    a lot of towns have ordinance against “farm animals” in town limits but allow “Pet” chickens (limit on hens and No roosters) fair enough . Looks like the town was willing to work with her but “However, Sherri says the process is too much under the circumstances.” Sorry Honey but if it was my child there would be NO “too much under the circumstance” about it . From the sound of the comments this Sherri is a real piece of work .

  • Michael M Jamison

    Maybe the kids not “autistic” maybe the school knows it. Maybe this kid is a revenue stream for her. In one of the videos she has him saying “I’m autistic” and “like my channel” I would never have my kid do that when it’s “aspergers” she is using him in the worst way


    She didn’t pay for these chickens, nor did she do research to help her son. Some lady gave them to her on a whim. Sherri is a compulsive liar that tells so many lies she can’t remember what she says. If a reporter wants to help Anthony, they should do some research on her and get Anthony away from her. The ONLY reason she is doing this is to keep Anthony away from his father and to make some money. Now someone has started a donation page…DON’T GIVE! My guess is she will take the money and spend it on something besides the chickens. Poor Anthony is being used by his own mother and it is shameful.

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