Monday, May 18, 2009

"National Pigeon Day" to protest pigeon hunts....

Club to stop pigeon shoots; police withdraw citation
Bucks County Courier Times
Various groups have planned "National Pigeon Day" in New York to protest pigeon hunts.

The Bensalem Police Department said it has withdrawn animal cruelty and hunting citations against the Philadelphia Gun Club president after police said the organization promised to stop shooting birds.

On March 14, club president Leo Holt was cited for allegedly participating in live pigeon shoots at the club's headquarters on River Road in Bensalem.

The newspaper was unsuccessful in reaching John Van Luvanne, attorney for the club, for comment, after calls to his office Wednesday and Friday.

Township officials cited local laws against such hunts, but the gun club has argued that its organization predates all such ordinances. Pigeon shooting is legal in Pennsylvania.

Regardless, Public Safety Director Fred Harran said the gun club has agreed to stop shooting birds. With those assurances, he said the township felt comfortable dropping the charges.

"Our goal here was not to collect a fine for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Harran said. "Our goal here was to stop this activity."

The fine for Holt's alleged violations of the township's animal cruelty and hunting ordinances would have been about $160, according to court records.

Bensalem said it issued a cease-and-desist order against the shoots in 2002, after videos sent to the newspaper appeared to show pigeon hunting at the gun club off State Road.

The gun club denied that any such cease-and-desist order was issued. Club members also questioned whether the township had legal authority to shut down the pigeon shoots.

Advertisement Chartered in 1877, the gun club pre-dates any township laws. Pigeon shoots on the Bensalem waterfront have been a subject of legal disputes going back more than 119 years.

In 1890, a Bucks County judge ruled that gun club member A. Nelson Lewis was guilty of animal cruelty.

According to a Jan. 27, 1890, report in the New York Times, Lewis "fired with a gun upon certain pigeons, liberated from a trap, killing one and wounding another.

"The bird so wounded alighted upon a tree, and as soon as its wounded condition was discovered, it was killed," the report said. "The birds so killed were immediately sold for food, according to the rule and custom of said club."

The Pennsylvania Legislature is considering a ban on pigeon shoots. There were two earlier attempts for a statewide ban in 1999, but both failed.

Animal rights groups will hold a "National Pigeon Day" in New York City next month to rally for the rights of birds and protest pigeon shoots.

Activists said they are rallying against pigeon trafficking to Pennsylvania for the purposes of pigeon shoots. They also oppose pigeon control methods, including contraceptives and sterilization.

A number of writers, actors and musicians are scheduled to perform from noon to 4 p.m. June 13 on Pilgrim Hill in Central Park.

For more information on the protest, visit the Web site for the Humane Society of the United States,

May 17, 2009 02:00 AM

No comments: