Man fights to keep emotional support Emu

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Nicholas Olenik tries to name all his pets after characters in the Japanese anime series “Dragon Ball Z.” So when he bought an emu, the second-largest living bird, it was no different.

“She looked like a storm cloud,” Olenik said of the bird, which, when she was young, fit in his lap. “So we named her after the ‘flying nimbus’ that the character would use to fly.”

Olenik said Nimbus was his doctor-approved emotional support pet, helping him overcome depression. But where he saw a loving companion, officials saw a violation of Virginia Beach rules about what animals residents could keep. After a neighbor notified animal control about Nimbus, Olenik was cited for keeping livestock within the city limits.

So began a months-long legal battle over whether Olenik — who is now running as an independent candidate for the 96th District of the Virginia House of Delegates — could legally keep an emu to help manage his emotions.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!