AM New York, September 16, 2008
Pol: Time to fight poachers stealing NYC pigeons

By Galen Moore

One local lawmaker wants to stop pigeon poaching from the city's streets by going to the bloody source of the problem.

State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) has written a letter of support for a Pennsylvania state bill being taken up Tuesday to ban live pigeon shoots. The shoots, popular in some Pennsylvania sporting clubs, are seen as a market for pigeon poachers.

The bird bandits allegedly lay out birdseed over nets and bundle the birds into unmarked vans, spiriting away their feathered captives by the covey for sale out of state.

This summer, police arrested one man in Krueger's Upper East Side district for doing just that.

"Frankly we have more important things for our police to be doing than chasing down the people of Pennsylvania coming here to steal our pigeons," Krueger quipped.

Roy Afflerbach, a former Democratic state senator from Allentown, Pa., who first introduced the bill in 1997, said Monday that he is not hopeful the ban will be approved. Time and again, Afflerbach said, the leadership in the Legislature has blocked the bill.

Pigeons have long sparked an indifference-hate relationship with New Yorkers.

City Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) is currently working on reintroducing a bill to place limits on excessive pigeon feeding, an aide said.

But pigeon supporters say even that is unfair to birds that pose no more health risk than a sparrow.

"Has anyone suggested that we not walk dogs?" asked Al Streit, director of the Pigeon People, a self-described rescue and advocacy group for pigeons.



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