Phoenix Council: Don’t Feed Pigeons

Published: Monday, June 10, 2019 - 5:05am
Christina Estes/KJZZ
On June 6, 2019, Phoenix council members approved an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of pigeons.

Starting next month, it will be illegal to feed wild pigeons in Phoenix. Council members approved a new ordinance at their meeting last Wednesday.

Sherry Marynick told council members about a neighbor who feeds pigeons every day. She described in detail how his actions impact her family and property.

“Our grandchildren can’t play outside without standing in bird feces, seeing bird birds, eggs, maggots and having their toys covered with poop and feathers,” she said.

Spencer Self, director of the city’s Neighborhood Services Department, shared what he learned while researching the issue.

“Pigeons don’t typically roost where they feed and so they may feed at the offender’s property but then they roost on the neighbor’s property and waste does kind of expand from there and other issues that come along with pigeons,” he said.

When the ordinance takes effect in July, feeding pigeons will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Offenders can be charged civilly or criminally with fines similar to other nuisance violations. It requires three signed complaints from different households to initiate an investigation by the Neighborhood Services Department.

Below is the draft ordinance from the council agenda:

8-7.02 Feeding pigeons prohibited

A. It is unlawful for any person to feed pigeons within the city.

B. This prohibition does not apply to pigeons kept in accordance with Section 8-7.01(B) nor does it prohibit the feeding of other birds using practices or devices designed to prevent pigeons from obtaining food. Further, this ordinance does not prohibit the feeding of pigeons in accordance with a government-approved plan for wildlife management.

C. A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor; however, the city prosecutor may authorize the filing of certain cases or classes of cases as civil violations unless the person previously has been found responsible or guilty of violating this section.

D. A person found responsible for a civil violation of this section is subject to a sanction of not less than $150 and not more than $2,500.

E. In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, a person found guilty of a criminal violation of this section shall pay a fine of not less than $150.

F. An action for a violation of this section on private property will not be initiated except upon receipt of a written complaint, signed by at least three (3) witnesses in separate households with independent knowledge of the violation.

G. For the purposes of this section:
1. Feed means to knowingly provide food.
2. Food includes, but is not limited to, grain, seeds, greens, bread, breadcrumbs, fish meal, waste food, food scraps, or other feed or nutritive substances including garbage not properly disposed of or contained.
3. Pigeon has the same meaning prescribed in Section 8-7.01(F)(3).