Many local readers have asked us what they can do about the proposed Albuquerque ordinance that would criminalize feeding pigeons, even inadvertently. The latest update is that the City Council did not vote on the issue at their last meeting. That means there is still time for citizens to weigh in on the issue. We’ve prepared a proposed letter. Please feel free to either copy it or use it as a jumping off place for your own letter to your councilor. Remember that politicians get a lot of angry, impolite mail and email about all kinds of issues. The way to persuade them is to address them politely and with respect.(Although we don’t mind if you attach a copy of our last blog post to your letter. No harm in pointing out the silliness of the ordinance.)
If local residents are not certain how to reach their councilor, here is the website that tells you.
And for all of you who don’t live here, feel free to weigh in too. Democracy works best when our elected representatives are well-informed.
In re: Anti-Pigeon Feeding Ordinance 0-11-37
Dear City Councilor:
I write to express my opposition to proposed Ordinance O-11-37 (the anti-pigeon feeding ordinance) being considered by the Albuquerque City Council.
I am one of millions of people in the United States and many, many thousands in Albuquerque who enjoys feeding backyard birds. Not only is it a great joy and pastime, it benefits the wild birds as well.
I have read the proposed ordinance and as written, I would technically violate it every time I fill my feeders. I don’t intend to feed pigeons, but they fly into my yard and clean up the seed that falls to the ground beneath my feeders.
Besides, what actual data, as opposed to anecdotes from one city employee, exist proving that pigeons are such a problem that the City should be using scarce public funds to pay people to count pigeon poop and run after innocent citizens because of anonymous and secret complaints from other citizens? What data do you rely upon establishing that pigeon poop is a serious contaminate of a river over which millions of birds other than pigeons fly each year? How does the amount of pigeon poop in the river compare with the amount of feral cat poop in the river? What shall we do about all the ducks and geese that spend their nights on the river? How many people become ill each year as a result of pigeons? The local news media has failed to share with the public all this data. Unless such data exists, I object to spending public funds, especially during these troubled economic times, on pigeons.
It is my understanding that pigeons populate every big city and the real reason we have an abundance of pigeons in Albuquerque is because we have an abundance of people. If you build a city they will come, as they have since the dawn of cities.
As your constituent, I ask that you vote against the proposed ordinance and use your valuable time in more worthwhile endeavors.
Thank you for considering my views on this matter.