County to rethink poison planBy Clint Williams
The Arizona Republic
Thursday, December 23, 1993
Hoping to smooth the ruffled feathers of bird lovers, Maricopa County officials are reconsidering the idea of poisoning the pigeons that roost at the Madison Street Jail.
"We're going to take a fresh look at the alternatives to see if we can't come up with something that doesn't involve poisoning the birds," Assistant County Manager Jack Shomenta said Wednesday afternoon.
Hours earlier, about 40 people flocked to a "Save the Pigeons" rally on the plaza outside the county's Central Court building.
Acting "on behalf of our non-human earthmates," a coalition of animal-advocacy groups staged the rally "to present alternatives to poisoning," said David Roth of the Urban Wildlife Society.
Not only do poisoned birds die slowly and painfully, speakers said, the indiscriminate use of poison endangers children and other animals.
"Every time pigeons are targeted with poison chemicals, other birds, other animals die," said Lani Drolet of the For The Birds Rehabilitation Foundation.
Wednesday's rally was just the latest in a flurry of protests that has hit the county since the poisoning plan became public last week.
Faced with the costly problem of constantly having to clean up pigeon droppings, the county had planned to install poison pigeon perches on the Madison Street Jail to try to wipe out the problem. The perches would be saturated with a poison that enters the birds' bloodstream through their feet
In a memo last month to the county Board of Supervisors, Shomenta said the poison initially would cost $9,000, then $1,700 annually after that. The alternative, screening the louvers on the building where the birds perch, would have cost $28,000.