Sunday, July 27, 2008

New York City Birds Sold to Slaughter

New York Post

Posted: 4:06 am
July 27, 2008

A Brooklyn pigeon purveyor acted as a conduit for delivering Big Apple birds to their doom as live targets in shooting contests, according to an animal-rights group.

The Humane Society of the United States has fingered Broadway Pigeons and Pet Supplies in Bushwick as having sold squabs to brokers who resell the birds to Pennsylvania gun clubs.

The organizations include the Strausstown Rod and Gun Club, which is set to host one of the country's largest and bloodiest shoots in just four days.

"The Humane Society of the United States believes that some of the pigeons who end up as living targets in the circuit of live pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania come from the brokers at Broadway Pigeons in New York City," Heidi Prescott, a senior vice president at the animal-rights group, told The Post.

According to a lawyer for Broadway Pigeons, a pigeon broker named Don Bailey has purchased birds from the store in the past. Bailey is in charge of the invitation-only tournament at Strausstown this week, according to the Pennsylvania Flyers Association, a group that has fought to keep pigeon shoots legal in the state.

Bailey declined to comment for this story. It is unclear where the pigeons for this week's tournament were procured.

While pigeon shoots are illegal in New York and animal-rights groups have decried the sport, the century-old contests are legal and popular in rural corners of Pennsylvania.

Known as "the Large Calcutta," the Strausstown competition begins this Thursday and runs through Aug. 4. It offers cash prizes to competitors and allows onlookers to bet on who can shotgun the most birds.

Each competitor fires on 10 pigeons, which are loaded into spring traps and released in turn each time the shooter yells, "Pull!"

The winner is the shooter who kills the most birds within a 35-foot-radius shooting circle.

Tournaments can attract up to 100 competitors a day and go for several rounds.

Over a five-day tournament, the carnage can be in the thousands of birds.

Prescott said the birds are illegally netted by poachers from New York City parks and sidewalks and sold to a retailer or go-between for $2 a bird. That retailer generally wholesales the pigeons for up to $4.50 each to a broker, who then resells the birds for $9 each to a gun range.

In New York, to legally trap pigeons, a netting permit and a small-game license are required.

The attorney for Joseph Scott, the owner of Broadway Pigeons, acknowledged that the store buys pigeons without asking whether they were illegally poached.

"He's got no idea of whether any of the pigeons he's purchased were netted," said Scott's lawyer, Joseph Mure.

Mure added that Scott had no knowledge of his store's pigeons' being used in shoots.

"When someone comes in and buys pigeons, my client doesn't know where they go," Mure said.

He acknowledged, however, that Bailey, the pigeon broker, had been a customer.

"Don Bailey at one point bought some birds," Mure, said. "He hasn't bought any birds in a while . . . I think he goes to the auctions in Pennsylvania."


Anonymous said...

Broadway Pigeons' lawyer said:
"When someone comes in and buys pigeons, my client doesn't know where they go"

But, does Joseph Scott know where the pigeons he buys come from??

This guy probably knows all the netters that operate in New York.
He needs to be "pressured" to reveal all the information he has or he should be considered an accomplice in the pigeon shootings and prosecuted according to the law.
He is directly linked and responsible.

Anonymous said...

Well, we now know where all the former Hegins, PA shooters went, don't we? Remember Hegins? This was the site of the largest 1-day pigeon shoot held every Labor Day, in which 5,000 birds were shot, and the ones who weren't outright killed had their heads ripped off by children. What a nice bunch of people with some lovely family values.
The Hegins shoot was the embarrassment of Pennsylvania for years. Even the Hegins family was ashamed of it - it was named in memory of someone in their family way back when. It finally ended when the animal rights protestors coming up year after year spoiled the fun for them and focused all the negative publicity on the town.
Perhaps it's time to organize a regular protest to this Strausstown Rod and Gun Club event.
And by the way, the people who come to these gorefests aren't sportsmen. They are fringe criminals, dregs and cretins who couldn't shoot and hit anything unless it was weak from no food or water and dazed from being projected out of a box. I live in Philadelphia and I can tell you that outside of the large Philadelphia urban area, the rest of my state is an embarrassment of backwoods, in-bred, gun-loving, hunt-crazy, rural thinking. And yet, even among THIS crowd, many people are getting fed up with the asinine hunting mentality. We need to put the pressure on our PA laegislators to pass the bill outlawing live bird shoots. We have a better chance than we have ever had before, but we need to keep up the heat. And then we'll have to keep watch, because these creeps will just take their hobby further underground and deeper into the woods.

Anonymous said...

Correction to my above post:
Regarding the Hegins, PA Labor Day pigeon shoot, let me revise: I meant to say "even the Coleman family was ashamed of it," not the Hegins family. The location was Hegins, PA, but the shoot was called the Fred Coleman Memorial Shoot. The more evolved decendants of Fred Coleman, some Neanderthal yokel who excelled at shooting, were disgusted by the shoot and were greatly relieved when it ended.