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Making People the Pigeons : Battling Overpopulation, Glendale Will Clip Wings of Anyone Feeding the Birds

July 31, 1994

It's not exactly "Feed a Pigeon, Go to Jail," but it's coming close to that in Glendale, where city officials have decided to get tough with the source of the daunting downtown dung problem: people. Within three months, thanks to a more humane edict from the Glendale City Council, folks caught feeding the birds on public property, parks, streets, and sidewalks will be fined $50.

On the second offense, the fine rises to $100, and then to $250 on the third.

This all came about because Glendale's downtown pigeon population has risen exponentially, up to an estimated 10,000 winged bombers who have been dropping their unwanted poop all over statues, awnings and whatever else they can hit.

A few months back, a rather unseemly solution was entertained. The idea then was to bag the birds and unceremoniously hook the sack up to the tailpipe of your basic internal combustion engine vehicle. This concept so outraged people that they rose to the defense of pigeondom.

The fines are a better idea, but why stop there? In the war against graffiti, for example, it has become standard practice to make the weapons unavailable. Merchants keep spray paint cans behind the counters or out of reach of the would-be taggers. Surely the supermarkets and the corner grocery, and even pet stores, could follow a similar strategy.

Checkout counter employees could be encouraged to customers with a withering gaze and to inquire "And what exactly is the purpose of that bread you're buying?"

Unless it's Thanksgiving, anyone seen with a bag of bird feed or bread crumbs would be considered a suspect. Conscientious citizens would keep a wary eye on such hooligans, and report them smartly to the proper authorities. By the way, the acronym for the city officials who could keep track of such reports could be SPAPS ("Stool Pigeons Against Pigeon Stool"). Sounds like a winner to us.

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