Staten Island woman Michelle Conti, 32, made headlines this week after she intentionally ran over and killed one of her neighbor’s hens and stuck a cigarette in its mouth.
Conti says you can knock her for acting in poor taste, but she committed no crime.
“I drove the car toward the flock of birds hitting one of the birds,” she said. “I later came back, kicked the bird and put a cigarette in its mouth. I was being a jerk. That’s not a crime.”
Conti and her husband Vincent have feuded with neighbors Charles and Agnes Gabel for well over a year. The Contis says the hens are incredibly bothersome and never stop making noise. The Gabels say it’s legal to own them. Vincent Conti faces lewd charges for mooning Ms. Gabel and making an obscene gesture towards her in October. Michelle Conti punched Charles Gabel last Saturday, the day before she ran over his hen. The Contis point out that Gabel flies a swastika flag in his barn. He opens the barn door whenever the Contis are home to make sure they see it. Vincent Conti is Jewish.
You get the point. This is a classic case of two feuding neighbors. Police say they routinely get calls from the properties over disputes between the two households.
While Conti maintains that her decision to run over the hen and place a cigarette in the dead birds mouth was harmless, the police think otherwise. She is facing a charge of torturing and injuring an animal. The punch she landed on Gabel has earned her a second-degree assault charge.
When asked about her charges, Conti told the Staten Island Advance she had "nothing to say, but one thing I do have to say is, he's got a swastika hanging in his barn that I've repeatedly asked cops to have him remove because my husband's Jewish. It's on the inside, and he purposely opens those barn doors.
"So it's an ongoing battle. It was an accident that I did hit the bird, I will say that. I'm an animal lover. I've got two dogs, two cats and a horse.”