CORNWALL, Ontario - A new pigeon bylaw, finally, has been approved by city council.
The bylaw, which has been booted around by city council for months, requires that hobbyists be members of a recognized pigeon keeping association and limits a keeper to 80 birds.
When not released in controlled numbers during competitions and the like, the birds must be kept in enclosures.
Towards controlling the wild pigeon nuisance, the bylaw prohibits the spreading of bird food on private property while allowing a measured means of attracting wild birds.
But critics suggest the city’s bylaw department will be challenged to police such a wide-ranging bylaw.
A short-staffed city bylaw department is already struggling to keep up with the existing complaints it receives on a variety of other bylaw issues in Cornwall.
“This shows no intention of enforcement,” said Coun. Denis Thibault. “We’ve spent over $100,000 on feral cats…skunks hunted and trapped…coyotes…Canada geese…and here we are addressing an issue of pigeons.
“Do taxpayers…have to the dirty work themselves?”
But those in support of the bylaw suggested it would act as a first-step in addressing the issue.
"It’s a start," said Coun. Maurice Dupelle. "We may end up with it being the start and it's complaint driven. But that’s okay."
Pigeon keepers would be allowed two months to comply with the bylaw.
While some people keep pigeons as racing birds for competition, others want them simply as pets.
The droppings from the pigeons have been linked to incidences of toxoplasmosis, a potentially deadly infection.
Coun. Gerry Samson apologized for making light of the issue at a previous council meeting when he suggested pigeons in the city should be gassed.