Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Unlawful Pigeon Nettings Continue as New York City Does Nothing

For the past several months the New York Bird Club has been concerned with the matter of pigeon nettings in the New York City area.

Hungry pigeons are baited with food, netted and dumped into a van and then allegedly sold to out of state pigeon shoots and restaurants as fare for the menu.

The Humane Society of the US in Washington, DC has been working on the Hegins pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania for years. Pennsylvania is the last state to allow the cruel practice of pigeon shoots to continue.

Although the public has expressed sympathy, outrage and concern for pigeons and there have been eye witnesses, to date the New York Bird Club has not received any tangible information to turn over to the District Attorney's office who have expressed an interest in the situation. Several persons have attempted to file complaints with the New York Police Department, but they refused to cooperate and Incident Reports were not taken.

The New York Bird Club contacted the Civilian Complaint Revue Board to file a complaint against the New York City Police Department, but they would not accept it. Once we can establish precisely what the law is concerning removing pigeons from their habitat, we will be standing on firmer ground.

Laws concerning pigeons are ambiguous and difficult to find since pigeons are not considered native wildlife, and laws that protect wildlife do not apply to pigeons since they are not indigenous to the United States. Government agencies we should be concerned with are New York City Department of Agriculture and Market, the Department of Environment Conservation and the New York City Department of Health.

The following statutes may apply.

21 NYCRR § 9003.12 (2007)§ 9003.12 Park animals.No person shall within any park molest, chase, wound, trap, hunt, shoot, throw missiles at, kill, remove or have in his possession any undomesticated animal, or any significant portion of the remains of any domesticated or undomesticated animal, or any nest, or the young of any undomesticated animal or the egg(s) of any undomesticated animal; or knowingly buy, receive, have in his possession, sell or give away any such undomesticated animal or egg taken from or killed within any park.

There are multiple statutes that protect pigeons.

New York Agricultural and Markets Law ("Ag & Mkts Law") section 353-a protects pigeons from aggravated cruelty. Ag & Mkts Law section 353 provides that anyone who beats a pigeon (or other animal) or causes it to be deprived of necessary food or drink, among other acts, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Ag & Mkts Law section 362 provides that throwing a substance at a pigeon (or other animal) to willfully injure it is punishable by imprisonment of up to a year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

NYS Environmental law § 11-0513. Pigeons.

1. No person shall at any time, by any means or in any manner capture, kill or attempt to capture or kill any Antwerp or homing pigeon, wearing a ring or seamless leg band with its registered number stamped thereon; nor shall any person remove such mark. No person except the lawful owner shall detain, possess, or transport Antwerp or homing pigeons wearing a ring or seamless leg band with the registered number thereon.

2. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the local legislative body of any city, town or village, or in the city of New York the Department of Health may take or issue a permit to any person to take pigeons at any time and in any humane manner in such municipality, whenever such body or administration finds that pigeons within such municipality are or may become a menace to public health or a public nuisance; provided, however, that no pigeon may be taken in a manner which will endanger other animal life, persons or property.

New York State Department of Environmental and Conservation Law states that all birds are entitled to protection afforded by §11-1101(1), and that this protection is also afforded to pigeons. This was conceded by the Division of Legal Affairs at NYS-DEC Albany, in a Petition For Declaratory Ruling settlement in June 2005.

Only a coward would shoot down a defenseless bird weighing but a few ounces with no means of escape for their amusement and egos. If you would like to put an end to the cruel matter of netting pigeons, please contact the New York Bird Club.


Pigeon nettings in the New York City area are becoming more aggressive and frequent. Netters working in a pair start before sunrise netting in Manhattan, the five boroughs and beyond. They have been seen in brand new SUVs, and since it is a cash-only business with no taxes paid, this appears to be a lucrative business.

Pigeons are sold to out of state shooting galleries and restaurants.
Although it is against the law to remove pigeons from their habitat, no one has stopped the netters from doing so.

The public may be eating pigeon meat as it unknowingly may be substituted for quail, chicken or other meat products.

Only the New York City Board of Health has the authority to remove pigeons, or a permit or license is required from them.

If you care about pigeons and justice, please contact the Mayor of New York City and demand that the appropriate action be taken.
From In Defense of Animals

New York, N.Y.
July 24, 2007

International animal protection organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally netting, capturing, and killing pigeons in New York City."Reports of large numbers of pigeons being netted in New York City have grown over the last year," said IDA's East Coast Director, Valerie Sicignano. "IDA is offering a $2,500 reward in the hope of turning up evidence that will identify the offender(s). We suspect that the majority of birds are being transported out of state for canned hunts in a neighboring state and that a smaller number may be for human consumption.

Emails mentioning a concern about bird flu are false - Pigeons do not transmit bird flu. If the Avian Flu does reach New York, New Yorkers will have to be concerned about catching it from other humans - not from the birds," added Sicignano.

To Report a Bird Netting in New York City: (edited by NY Bird Club on 03/09/2008)

1) Contact the New York Bird Club: luciedove@yahoo.com
2) Call New York City Humane Law Enforcement at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450 and file a report using the information you gathered on the form.
3) Next, Call NYS-DEC District 2 at (718) 482-4885 and file a 2nd report using the information that you gathered on the form.
4) To register for the Reward offered by IDA, mail a photocopy of your completed form to:

Valerie Sicignano

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner Blvd.San Rafael, CA 94902

New Yorkers Love Pigeons!

The response from people who are concerned about pigeon poaching in NYC has been overwhelming! New Yorkers love these birds and we're not surprised given that the city even has a "Pigeon Registry" where people can name a pigeon after someone just like the Star Registries where you can name a star after someone.

To Name a Pigeon After Someone You Love:

Visit the Pigeon Registry started by Kerry Lea, IDA volunteer and Director of the world famous Veg Kids, at http://www.thepigeonregistry.com/

Recommended Reading:
PIGEONS: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman.


Correspondence Sent to Group (9/22/07):

Just a note to stay in touch concerning the pigeon nettings.A few weeks ago, I was contacted by someone through our blog who witnessed a pigeon netting. She managed to get a picture of the criminal - only his back was photographed, but a picture of the van and license plate number was taken, and I sent this to Bill Dunn of the ASPCA and the D.A. office, but have not heard further.

Some disturbing news was sent to us, but cannot share until I get specifics; however, please be aware of PICAS - Pigeon Control, that I have reason to believe is being implemented in our city by government agencies. Pigeons do not have an easy life, as you can see by their scrawny appearance and apparent hunger. Some people believe it is better to eradicate them than to let them live a life of misery. I have seen pigeons in the park sunning and enjoying life, and the NY Bird Club is against intentionally killing healthy birds. However, this is an area open for debate and we should keep an open mind to this sensitive issue.

Thank you for caring about pigeons....we are a small group but are growing as more people learn about what beautiful and sweet birds they are.


I have had this in my mailbox for close to a month now, and have put off sharing for reasons that I think are obvious; however, I see the investigation of apprehending the poachers/hunters/netters is stymied, and this may be some explanation as to why nothing is being done and the netters have free reign to do as they please.

Please know that the source of the email is reliable. Personally in my opinion, apprehending the netters is not a top priority with any agency or organization and perhaps it may be welcomed, cruel as it seems. Again, this is only my opinion; the email is real.

"This week Tuesday I was buying a used book at a stand in front of a Beauty Salon on 812 West 181 Street, that is in Manhattan (upper) by Fort Washington ave. The person that was selling the books told one of the men standing outside of the Beauty Parlor 'Give that pigeon some food' as he was eating a sandwich, so he threw the pigeon a piece of bread. I remarked that he was very kind. He then proceeded to tell me that the one pigeon that was there was the only survivor. He told me that a truck pulled up last week and threw out a net and took all the pigeons away directly across the street. I asked him if he remembered the license or if he could describe the car. He told me it was an ASPCA truck. I was shocked!

Can it be that we are complaining to an organization that is looking to cut down on the amount of pigeons in the city and periodically goes around and collects pigeons. THEY DON'T TAKE THEM TO THE COUNTRY FOR A BETTER LIFE. I was nieve when I witnessed my first bird netting. I believe the man's name is Victor and he sells used paperbacks at that location. He likes pigeons and shares when he is eating. What can you do?I am not an eyewitness to the crime, but I know the writer to be reliable."

What Can Be Done:

Most of the pigeons being netted are crossing state lines into Pennsylvania, the last state where it is still LEGAL to shoot pigeons in shoots. Pennsylvania is the state of hunters and pigeon shoots, a state where "real men" go for "entertainment".Pennsylvania - state of the wimps and cowards.Please contact all of the government officials on this link whichever way you choose and ask them anyway you choose, to please MAKE PIGEON SHOOTS ILLEGAL! Any way you can get the word out to ask people not to visit this state and not to do business there would help all animals that are hunted down in cold blood. Government is cruel, unprincipled and immoral.

Without pigeon shoots in PA, the nettings will dramatically decrease in frequency or even be given up.http://www.governor.state.pa.us/governor/cwp/view.asp?a=1117&q=437853&governorNav=

What's At Stake?

Pennsylvania: Stop Pigeon Shoots

Pennsylvania is one of the last states to practice these outdated events in which shooters kill thousands of pigeons for prizes or cash. Tame pigeons are stockpiled for months prior to a pigeon shoot. Obtained on the sly, the birds are typically kept in packed cages and arrive at the shoot malnourished and dehydrated. At the shoot, the birds are usually released one at a time from traps. As the disoriented birds leave the box, waiting shooters fire rounds of shells at the animals. More than 70 percent of the pigeons are not killed outright, but fall to the ground wounded. In past shoots, children called "trapper boys" then took to the fields to rip the heads off of wounded pigeons, and slam others against the ground.Thousands of dollars exchange hands during these events, with prizes being awarded for the most birds killed. The Pennsylvania pigeon shoot circuit attracts out-of-state extremists looking to target animals for kicks. Since almost every other state prohibits pigeon shoots, these shooters come to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has a long, controversial history of battling pigeon shoots. In 1999, the infamous Hegins Pigeon shoot in Schuylkill County ended after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously ruled that humane officers could prosecute shoot participants for animal cruelty. The opinion issued by the court characterized pigeon shoots as "cruel and moronic." Now, only a handful of floundering shoots serve as reminders that the fight to end the wanton and wasteful events is not yet over.

New York State law:

New York Agricultural and Markets Law ("Ag & Mkts Law")Section 353-a protects pigeons from aggravated cruelty.Provides that anyone who beats a pigeon (or any other animal) or causes it to be deprived of necessary food or drink, among other acts, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 362 provides that throwing a substance at a pigeon to willfully injure it is punishable by imprisonment of up to a year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

New York Times Article
Wing and a PrayerA
Published: October 28, 2007

WHEN Eduardo Urbina’s pet pigeon disappeared from his apartment in Spanish Harlem three summers ago, he suspected something nefarious.

Mr. Urbina, a street vendor who sells hats and watches along Third Avenue in the East 80s, recalled having seen a burly man with dreadlocks scooping live pigeons off Third Avenue with a fishing net, then depositing them into the back of his van.

Mr. Urbina, who knows that pigeons are not in the habit of wandering off on their own, says he believed that the man with the dreadlocks had taken his bird.In a town where pigeons have long been relegated to the status of pest, Mr. Urbina is part of a loose cadre of New Yorkers who see the birds as gentle, misunderstood creatures worthy of protection from human cruelty and indifference.

The problem of pigeon netting has continued unabated, and over the summer, organizations like the Wild Bird Fund, a local group, and In Defense of Animals, based in California, offered thousands of dollars in rewards for information leading to the arrest of netters, as the bird-nappers are known. A few months ago, an official of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals met with local pigeon protectors to discuss effective ways to address their complaints.

But Mr. Urbina worked alone.

He had been given this pigeon by a building superintendent when the bird was still tufted in yellow baby fuzz. He raised it to adulthood inside his apartment, feeding it seed through a straw and, later, from a dish, then released the pigeon outdoors — a routine he has followed with other rescued birds. Even so, the pigeon returned every morning through his apartment window for breakfast. One day, it did not.

“I loved that animal,” said Mr. Urbina, a soft-spoken 60-year-old who immigrated to New York 28 years ago from Peru. “So beautiful. So smart.”He had heard rumors that netters lure the birds with food, then spirit them away to mysterious destinations.

Many bird lovers believe that the pigeons become living targets at private gun clubs in Pennsylvania. Others say they end up in voodoo ceremonies, in the hands of pigeon breeders, at live poultry markets where they are sold for human consumption or at restaurants, particularly in Chinatown.

And while catching wild birds like pigeons on the street is a violation of state environmental law, one New York police sergeant said that as a practical matter, enforcement is a low priority. After Mr. Urbina’s pigeon vanished, he set up his own sting operation at Third Avenue and 103rd Street, near his apartment.

A bakery on the corner discarded large bags of old bread that attract flocks of birds, and Mr. Urbina suspected that the birds would in turn attract the netter. Every morning for two months, he waited on the corner from 6 until after 7, his camera in hand. According to Mr. Urbina’s account of what happened next, early one morning in late August, he finally saw his target driving north in a white truck. Along the way, the man would stop to park the truck, climb out and go after his prey with a long-handled net. Mr. Urbina pursued him, snapping photos as he went.

AFTER the netter sped off, Mr. Urbina hailed a taxi and sped north for six blocks, where he saw the netter scooping up more birds. Mr. Urbina leaped from the taxi and took photos of the truck, on the bed of which rested a portable pigeon coop. Turning away from the birds, the netter approached Mr. Urbina from behind, snatched his camera and drove off.

At this point, a police officer named Jon Stueckenschneider entered the case.“I always refer to this case as my great pigeon caper,” said Sergeant Stueckenschneider, who at the time was an officer with a detective unit at the 23rd Precinct station house on East 102nd Street. He had been assigned to the case to investigate not the netting but the theft of Mr. Urbina’s camera.The officer’s search for the thief ended the following February, when he got a call from police officers in the Bronx who had found the man in question.

Subsequently, according to court records, a man named Dwayne Daley, now 49, pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property and was sentenced to the day he had spent in police custody. According to Mr. Daley — who identified himself in a telephone voice message as “the birdman” — the case was dismissed.“

My take on Dwayne Daley is he just wants to do his thing,” Sergeant Stueckenschneider said. “He might have felt Eduardo was invading his space by taking pictures.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Daley said he had been fascinated by pigeons ever since he was a child trapping them in shoeboxes in Brownsville and East New York, the Brooklyn neighborhoods where he grew up. He now lives in Bushkill, Pa., near the Delaware Water Gap, where he keeps hundreds of birds, but he occasionally visits New York. He uses the birds he nets to interbreed with his own birds, he said, or sell at auction, where some can fetch more than $100.“It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong with them,” Mr. Daley added. In his opinion, it is the birds’ defenders who do the real harm, by giving the creatures food that is meant for humans and that subsequently attracts rats.

Mr. Urbina never again set eyes on his 6-month-old pigeon, which he had named January, after the month he adopted it. But he did get back his camera, along with copies of the photographs he had taken. Exactly who had made the copies is unclear, but the final image showed Mr. Daley in the driver’s seat of his cab, wearing sunglasses and a half-smile.


Reward Offered for Exposing Cruelty at Live Pigeon Shoots
(October 29, 2007) —

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons committing acts of cruelty to animals before, during and after live pigeon shoots.The HSUS is seeking information about instances of cruelty during the shoots, as well as information pertaining to the illegal trafficking of pigeons across state lines to supply shoots, and illegal gambling occurring at events.“It’s time to expose the seedy cruelty that occurs almost every weekend in Pennsylvania during live pigeon shoots,” stated Heidi Prescott , HSUS senior vice president of campaigns, “We encourage anyone with information related to supplying birds, gambling, or specific acts of cruelty occurring at shoots to come forward.”

Individuals with information may call the toll-free live pigeon shoot tip line at 1-800-637-4124.

Live Pigeon Shoots:Live pigeon shoots are events where shooters fire at birds released one at a time from boxes in an attempt to shoot each animal down within a ring for prizes.Live pigeon shoots occur almost every weekend during the fall and winter primarily in Pennsylvania . Although an underground, illegal pigeon shoot circuit exists, Pennsylvania is the last state where live pigeon shoots knowingly, regularly occur. During past live pigeon shoots, participants have beaten the pigeons against barrels, buried wounded animals with dead ones in containers, and abandoned wounded animals.At least 1,000 birds are typically used for one shoot.In past shoots, seventy percent of the birds are shot and wounded rather than killed outright, with some wounded animals escaping into the area to suffer for hours or days before dying.

Visit www.humanesociety.org/ hunt for more information.
The HSUS Contacts:
Jordan Crump, phone: 901-581-5666

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs.

Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty --
On the web at http://www.humanesociety.org/.
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

Councilman Wants Birth Control for Pigeons 11/02/2007


Pigeon Nettings
Pigeon Nettings

(reference: Tales & Tails of New York):

It is beyond comprehension how anyone could complain about the number of pigeons now in New York City.

In the above (emphasis supplied) essay, it states that thousands of pigeons are being netted weekly in NYC and sent to Pennsylvania gun clubs where they are used as "targets."With this kind of continued and unabetted cruelty and assault on our urban population of birds, it won't take long for pigeons to go the way of the Do Do bird. Already, the pigeon population in Manhattan has been severely decimated. In another 5 years or so, there won't be any.

About 8 or 9 months ago, I yelled at two men netting pigeons on the corner of Lexington Avenue in the East 80's. Although there were many people around, NO ONE assisted me in trying to stop these men. I got the licence number of the car they threw the pigeons into and reported it to the ASPCA. The ASPCA never even returned my call.Small wonder the men conducting this henious deed every day have NO FEAR to do it out in the open and even in front of crowds of people. They certainly have no fear of the ASPCA.

The ASPCA is no friend to the animals in allowing -- and tacitly supporting this kind of blatent cruelty to animals. Anyone supporting the ASPCA should no longer do so and let them know WHY. -- PCA

1 comment:

MinnesotaBirdMan said...

I Think Pigeons are A Very Neat God Created Animal and Is No Differant Then Human , Dogs or even 1 of thier worst enemies cats - They have feelings just like the rest of us , and why we should protect them is cuz they don't have voices to ask for help like we do .... Save The Pigeons ! I do feel different about catching and keeping them for a hobby as I did so as a child - I am against people eating them or thier eggs !