PORTSMOUTH, OHIO (WOWK) — You might not think that feeding pigeons or stray animals would be a big deal, but according to the Portsmouth City Council, you’d be wrong.
In fact, they just made it illegal in some cases.
“We have a lot of problems here. So when I think of problems I wouldn’t think pigeons would be one you know? But they are. Like, a lot of our streets have a lot of abandoned houses and that’s usually the problem,” says Jerry Craft, who lives in Portsmouth.
“Well certain times of the day you can come down here and it’ll be way over a hundred pigeons on these lines. And we got cats and dogs running all over the place,” says William Perry, who also lives in Portsmouth.
Walking through the neighborhoods in Portsmouth, people will tell you there does seem to be a problem with the wild pigeons and strays.
Perry says he thinks the ordinance is a good idea. He says the stray problem has affected him personally:
“In the summertime, I’ll have cats digging up my tomatoes and using it for a litter box,” Perry says.
“We were just talking about this–there’s a lot of stray cats and right down the corner is a bunch of pigeons… Kinda gets them away if they’re not feeding them,” says Kailey Dietrick, who lives in Portsmouth.
Some say the city should stop pecking at minor problems:
“With the drugs or the crime that’s going on in this area, I would think that that’s the least of their worries,” Craft says.
However, the city says it had to do something, and it wasn’t just for the birds.
“What we were finding is people were essentially dumping like a 50-pound bag of food and it was causing all types of problems for neighbors and so forth,” says Mayor Sean Dunne of Portsmouth.
Code enforcement officer Andy Gedeon says you can still feed the animals—within reason.
“…And it is somewhat controversial because a lot of people thought that they couldn’t leave food out on their front porch, and that is not true. They can leave food out on their front porch, it just has to be in containers. It can’t be spilling over and you can’t have any spoiled food,” Gedeon says.
Gedeon says if you violate this ordinance it is a misdemeanor and could be punishable by somewhere around a $750 dollar fine. However, they say they are using this time as an educational period and first-time offenders will get a warning.
For questions about this ordinance, Gedeon says to call code enforcement at 740-351-1327.