FARMINGTON — Feeding feral pigeons is still against the law in Farmington.
In Tuesday's Farmington City Council meeting, Councilor Mary Fischer asked to repeal an ordinance regulating the feeding of pigeons and to have staff add language addressing general nuisances to an animal control ordinance that is being drafted.
Because no other councilors seconded her motion, the council did not vote on the issue.
Three councilors — Gayla McCulloch, Dan Darnell and then-councilor Jason Sandel — approved the ordinance in a March 2012 meeting, and Fischer voted against it. The legislation was an attempt to reduce neighborhood "pigeon nuisances," which the ordinance defines as an "excessive congregation of pigeons."
In a February 2012 council meeting, Jennifer Briggs and her grandmother, Joanne Hammond, lobbied for the law. Briggs said her grandmother's pigeons filled the woman's backyard and patio with feces, according to The Daily Times archives.
They said a neighbor had been feeding a pigeon flock for several years, and that contributed to the droppings.
In addition to prohibiting wild pigeon feeding, the law bans birdseed that attracts "significant numbers" of the birds or creates conditions that cause a pigeon nuisance, according to the document.
Residents receive a written warning for the first violation, and further violations warrant up to a $50 fine, according to the document.
Farmington Police Chief Steven Hebbe told council no citations have likely been filed, but the law sends a message. That message, he said, is that pigeons are a problem.
He said he supports the law.
Lynn Hood calls herself Farmington's bird lady. Animal control officers bring her injured birds, and local veterinarians and animal stores contact her with bird questions. She said the law does not influence pigeon roosts.
Few people feed pigeons anyway, so their numbers don't multiply when food is strewn, she said. And wherever they build their nests, she said, they often stay.
"They always pick a building," she said.
Pigeons are part of the city's landscape, like feral dogs and dry air, she said. Fitting bird spikes on every windowsill and rooftop or hiring someone to trap all the pigeons are the only way to solve the problem, she said.
She estimates there are at least 10,000 pigeons in the city.
In an interview before Tuesday's meeting, Fischer said the law is nearly unenforceable. She said animal control and code compliance officers cannot monitor every feeder.
The only possible method, she said, would be to post signs where pigeons illegally feed that say, in pigeon, "Do not eat here."
"But the question is, is there anyone on staff who speaks fluent pigeon that can make such a sign?" she said. "I mean, we've been accused of being birdbrains, but I think that's taking it a little too far."