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PAULDEN, Arizona (KPNX) – Paulden, Arizona is a small and quiet community, but lately there’s been some chatter over the new guy in town.
It’s a nine-foot tall metal gargoyle with a wingspan of 13 feet.
“It kind of symbolizes fire, I work metal and fire has its own spirit,” explains artist David Smith.
Smith just moved into the neighborhood and says the day after he put up his prized possession the county told him to take it down.
It’s not the size of the statue that has the county up in arms, it’s the size of something else.
Let’s just say it is in proportion to a man nine feet tall.
“It just seemed like it needed to be there,” Smith explains. “I don’t like Ken dolls. It wasn’t put on there to offend anybody. That isn’t the reason. Everything has a sex.”
He says the statue was at his Phoenix home for six years and nobody complained.
But some in the community say this is a huge deal, and the county agrees – saying this is no laughing matter.
“The frontal nudity of the statue was offensive and they were concerned about their children walking by it,” says Yavapai County Director of Development Services Steven Mauk.
They’ve told Smith that the statue needs to be taken down or removed from public view or he’ll face a fine of $1,000.
Smith says the statue is an extension of himself and they’re not going away so easily.
“If this is incompatible then I’m incompatible,” he says. “I honestly thought I had freedom of speech and I will fight this. I won’t let them take it away from me. I worked too hard on it.”
Smith has appealed the county’s order.
A new hearing to reconsider the original ruling is set for July.