Man puts giant elephant outside home to the chagrin of Miami officials

It’s something Reinol Fernandez loves to admire from his porch. People walk over to see it like a neighborhood attraction. Strangers even stop in the middle of the road to take pictures.

“I thought it might be stuffed,” one man said after parking his car in the middle of the street to get a good look. “That’s what made me turn around.”

It’s the big elephant in the room. Or in this case, the front yard. Four years ago, Fernandez spent three months building a life-size elephant in his backyard — and no, it’s not stuffed. It’s made of chicken wire, rebar and cement.

“Once he brought it to the front yard, he literally just said, ‘It’s in the front. It’s done. I can die a happy man.’ And he was exhausted from pulling it to the front, but he loves it,” Fernandez’s daughter, Damaris, said.

But after Fernandez moved the elephant to his front yard, it only took four months for a warning to come from the county.

“He never thought it would be anything bad, or any kind of crime, or offense to put it in the front,” Damaris said. “He never thought it would turn this way.”

The notice said the life-size elephant fountain built in front of the house is “encroaching the setbacks,” meaning it is too close to neighbors.

So now, the Fernandez family is looking at other, more discrete options.

“He wouldn’t want it to be destroyed in any shape or form because he enjoys it,” Damaris said. “He had a lot of hard work in making it and is proud of what he did.”

Right now, the county isn’t on board. But the Fernandez family, some neighbors, and even strangers driving by say they think the animal sculpture fountain should stay right where he is.

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